On February 11 in Melbourne and Sydney, Australia, a rally for the enactment of the law against coercive conversion programs was held by Human Rights Association for Victims of Coercive Conversion Programs (HAC) with approximately 200 Australians who denounced human rights violation in the name of religion that led to death or traumatic damage to 1,280 South Korean people since 2007.
This rally is for the enactment of a special law against coercive conversion programs which targeted the people in minority groups of religion. It is hosted in Sydney and Melbourne, following 8 countries including South Korea, Germany, South Africa and the Philippines. According to HAC, this Coercive Conversion Program involves serious violations of human rights since the program for the purpose of changing people’s religion accompanies kidnapping and confinement. HAC also says that such actions are driven by family members after they have “consultations” with payment from Christian pastors in South Korea. Recently, the case of Ms. Ji in Gu, a 25-year-old South Korean woman who passed away while she was confined in a pension by her parents, motivated many people to recognize seriousness of violation of human rights domestically and internationally.
Also, HAC petitioned for the enactment of this special law to Cheongwadae (Blue House), presidential office of South Korea. Although the petition received responses from 130,000 people’s participation within 5 days, it was deleted without explanations on January 22 before an official reply from the government .
HAC explains that these illegal acts have fallen on stony ground by being considered as a “family” or “religious” affair from government and the police. HAC said that the parents who are instigated by pastors made this illegal act and the pastors are taking advantage of loopholes in a law.
Christian groups in South Korea dent this claim. Through one broadcasting media, Association of Cult Counsellinginsists that they get an approval from her/himself and her/his parents in the case of cult counselling and after the counselling, there is no physical force and illegal act by writing down the confirmation sheet of the fact relation.
Mr. Sang-ik Park, co-chairman of HAC said “Kidnapping, confinement and violent actions can’t be justified in any case. The punishment towards the pastors who have brought the lives into the death with Coercive Conversion Program is urgently needed not to make a further negative result.”
He also mentioned, “The number of victims of Coercive Conversion Program has been over 1,000 people. It is clear that the victims will appear again without any legal protection, so the citizens need to pay attention to this event.”
(This Press Kit is offered from HAC to release the information on the matter of human rights and made by HWPL Press team.)