President Mr. MOON JAE IN
Prime Minister Mr. CHUNG SYE KYUN
Speaker of the National Assembly Mr. PARK BYEONG SEUG
Minister of Foreign Affairs Ms. KANG KYUNG WHA
Mr. President of South Korea, Mr. Prime Minister, Mr. Speak of the Nation al Assembly, Ms. Minister of Foreign Affairs:
I turn to you with this letter of petition on behalf of the members of the Shincheonji Church. Based on the information that I have received from European Parliament and European Commission official sources, as confirmed also by the Human Rights Council of the United Nations report from June 15, 2020, and the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), there are reasons to believe that the members of the Shincheonji Church are being treated unfairly by other citizens, and, what is worse, by some governmental officials (mostly on local level).
Harassment, intimidation, discrimination, and all other forms of persecution and/or discrimination on religious grounds is against human dignity and human rights. I have always considered South Korea a democratic country ruled by law and justice. I was able to experience wonderful hospitality and excellent treatment during my visit in your country a decade ago, which only confirmed my conviction that yours is a developed and well-organized society. Therefore, it was with disbelief and surprise that I received the grave news about the current situation.
I understand that the COVID-19 virus brings distress into our societies; I also understand the typical human proclivity to look for a scapegoat to ease some of the tension. Yet, as society, we must stay strong, which includes helping and protecting those most vulnerable. It is through such care and legitimate protection of the weak that we demonstrate our humanity and that which is noble in our civilizations.
I trust that you, as the highest of officials of your country, will pay due attention to this situation. Failure to do so would not only be unacceptable before applicable international law but also disheartening and demotivational for those millions of people who are looking up to you as their leaders and examples. After all, we all wish to live in a peaceful, just society, ruled by law and permeated by compassion and mutual care.
My letter is not meant as primarily a rebuke but rather encouragement for a situation of crisis. We all are facing unprecedented challenges. May these challenges make us stronger, while at the same time making us more humane.
With kind regards,
In Bratislava, Slovakia, October 7, 2020
Prof. Dr. Michal Valco, PhD.
Department of Systematic Theology
Comenius University of Bratislava, Slovakia