Forced Religious Conversion Becomes an International Human Rights Problem

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CaribPR Wire, WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 20, 2019: On 19 November, the Italian Center
for Studies on New Religions
(CESNUR) and the Belgien Human
Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF)
hosted a seminar on human rights
entitled “Intolerance and
Discrimination Against New
Religious Movements: An
International Problem” in Seoul,
South Korea..
The seminar was devoted to the
protection of the rights of religious
minorities with a special focus on forced conversion cases in Korea. Forced conversion, also
known as “deprogramming”, is a violation of human rights. Proponents of forced conversion
kidnap and detain members of religious groups labeled as “cults” in an effort to compel them to
abandon their faith.
More than 80 participants including legal experts, journalists, and civil society representatives
reviewed the current situation of forced conversion and discussed solutions to defend the
freedom of faith and human rights that have become the norm of the international community.
Massimo Introvigne, Managing Director of CESNUR as well as an Italian sociologist, stressed
how, “Korean deprogrammers are specialized pastors from mainstream churches, most of them
Presbyterian. The protests that commemorate the victims from forced conversion were
mentioned in the 2019 U.S. State Department Report on Religious Freedom. The report cited
examples of how forced conversions violated religious freedom in 2018. However, there were
new cases of deprogramming even after their death,” he criticized.
Regarding the
multi-dimensional strategy
to solve such phenomenon,
Willy Fautré, Founder and
Director of HRWF stated
several suggestions;
pointing at the
responsibility of the
leadership of the
Presbyterian Church which
tolerates, endorses, and maybe encourages such a practice; developing advocacy at the United
Nations and in organizations defending freedom of religion or belief; prosecuting those who
encourage people to perpetrate an act of abduction and confinement.
In an open letter, signed by 15 international NGOs including CAP-LC and HRWF, to the South
Korean President Moon Jae In on July 24 th , it said, “South Korea may well be the last democratic
country in the world where deprogramming is still tolerated” and asked the President to
“investigate in-depth accusations of forcible deprogramming, put a stop to this obnoxious
practice, and hold those responsible fully accountable.”
As an elected member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, South Korea vowed “to
participate in international efforts to respond to human rights crises around the world.” Seminar
participants urged the Korean government to respond to the issue of forced conversion which is
still threatening the human rights of its people.

Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR) from Italy and Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF) from Belgium hosted the seminar

CaribPR Wire, WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 20, 2019: On 19 November, the Italian Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR) and the Belgien Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF) hosted a seminar on human rights entitled “Intolerance and Discrimination Against New Religious Movements: An International Problem” in Seoul, South Korea.

The seminar was devoted to the protection of the rights of religious minorities with a special focus on forced conversion cases in Korea. Forced conversion, also known as “deprogramming”, is a violation of human rights. Proponents of forced conversion kidnap and detain members of religious groups labeled as “cults” in an effort to compel them to abandon their faith.

More than 80 participants including legal experts, journalists, and civil society representatives reviewed the current situation of forced conversion and discussed solutions to defend the freedom of faith and human rights that have become the norm of the international community.

Massimo Introvigne, Managing Director of CESNUR as well as an Italian sociologist, stressed how, “Korean deprogrammers are specialized pastors from mainstream churches, most of them Presbyterian. The protests that commemorate the victims from forced conversion were mentioned in the 2019 U.S. State Department Report on Religious Freedom. The report cited examples of how forced conversions violated religious freedom in 2018. However, there were new cases of deprogramming even after their death,” he criticized.

Regarding the multi-dimensional strategy to solve such phenomenon, Willy Fautré, Founder and Director of HRWF stated several suggestions; pointing at the responsibility of the leadership of the Presbyterian Church which tolerates, endorses, and maybe encourages such a practice; developing advocacy at the United Nations and in organizations defending freedom of religion or belief; prosecuting those who encourage people to perpetrate an act of abduction and confinement.

In an open letter, signed by 15 international NGOs including CAP-LC and HRWF, to the South Korean President Moon Jae In on July 24 th , it said, “South Korea may well be the last democratic country in the world where deprogramming is still tolerated” and asked the President to “investigate in-depth accusations of forcible deprogramming, put a stop to this obnoxious practice, and hold those responsible fully accountable.”

As an elected member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, South Korea vowed “to participate in international efforts to respond to human rights crises around the world.” Seminar participants urged the Korean government to respond to the issue of forced conversion which is still threatening the human rights of its people.

CONTACT:

Gabby Fonce

+1 202-898-4571

dchwpl.press@gmail.com

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Forced Religious Conversion Becomes an International Human Rights Problem

News Americas, WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 20, 2019: On 19 November, the Italian Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR) and the Belgien Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF) hosted a seminar on human rights entitled “Intolerance and Discrimination Against New Religious Movements: An International Problem” in Seoul, South Korea. The seminar […]
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