On February 18th, an international peace NGO, Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) under the UN ECOSOC held a conference called ‘Religious World Without Discrimination, Religious Leaders Becoming one’ in the International Convention Center, Cockle bay room in Sydney, Australia. In attendance with about 370 audiences, 30 members of 7 denomination religious leaders of Christian, Buddhism, Islam, Sikhism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, and Caodaism participated.
After the opening video of urging for the eradication of religious discrimination, 4 speakers delivered messages on the cases of religious discrimination and action plans of religious leaders for promoting religious harmony.
Nelson Pervaz, a pastor of Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, read a letter that will be sent to United Nations Human Rights Council, “I am a Pastor working in Australia and Pakistan. Pakistan is a dominantly Muslim country where religious tension and discrimination exists. I understand how we must all work to bring about true harmony between people of different faiths and cultures. The act of the Christian Council of Korea (CCK) about Ms. Gu Ji-In who were killed in the aftermath of coercive conversion in Korea should never be ignored and what they do should stop.”
Coercive conversion in South Korea has raised the issue of human rights violation as the number of victims especially women who are threatened by pastors and families to give up their religious faith has reached 1,000. After the death case of Ms. Gu from kidnapping, confinement and physical violence, there have been rallies to establish legal protection for freedom of religion and women rights.
Participants in the event urged the dissolution of religious organizations who engage in politics and persecute other religions or denominations by forcefully converting individuals. They signed Statement Denouncing Coercive Conversion Programs and Religious Discrimination and proclaimed to support the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW).
Regarding the role of religious leaders for establishing a world peace, Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL said, “I came to Australia for telling that 10 articles and 38 clauses of the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) are necessary to make a world peace and leave a legacy of peace for future generations. This is more important than anything else, and we have to become a peace messenger.”
HWPL proposes peace initiatives such as the establishment of international law for peace, an interfaith dialogue meeting for religious harmony, peace education and so on. In particular, the interfaith dialogue meeting called World Alliance of Religions Peace (WARP) Office is currently in operation in 219 places in 129 countries. The DPCW addresses principles of conflict resolution and international cooperation for peacebuilding such as respect on the international law, peaceful dispute settlement, and spreading a culture of peace.