Ramunas Jukna, Pastor, Lithuania

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Pastor Ramunas Jukna

Panenezys Evangelical Church

Panevezys, Lithuania

 I express my deep concern at the latest events that take place in South Korea, especially by the difficult situation that members and followers of the organizaion HWPL(Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light) and Shincheonji Church, the leader and whose president is Lee Man Hee, are going through.

 Actions of persecution and intimidation of members of the HWPL organizaion, of misinformation of society and incitement to hatred, especially in the case of COVID-19, where members of the Shincheonji Church have been blamed for the spread of the virus. the question is whether in South Korea the freedom of religion and the pluralism of thoughts, opinions and ideas  is respected, and more important are the human rights protected in South Korea? Through such actions many are wondering whether Korea will not take the path of North Korea, where the human rights are completely ignored, or The People’s Republic of China, where millions of people were concentrated in re-education camps for their religious beliefs.

 By this letter I wish to express a note of protest in connection with the latter events in South Korea, and manipulations to withdraw the operation license of HWPL organization, in fact is endangering the operation of the entire communication platform and promotiong interreligious dialogue and global values of peace.

 I understand that we are all cacing an unprecedented public health crisis due to COVID-10 and that the Korea government has a legitimate concern in investigating the outbreak that occurred in the Shincheonji Church. However, the actions taken seem excessive and appear to have a chilling effect on the freedom of members of this church to practice their religion and has put their livelihoods and safety at risk.

 I urge the government of Korea to reconsider the punitive actions it is taking against the Shincheonji Church.

Sincerely,

Pastor Ramunas Jukna

Penevezys Evangelical Church

2020-09-17

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