Community Development

Zimbabwean Youths Stand In Solidarity with Marginalized South Korean Church

Zimbabwean youths have joined hands with youths across the world to stand against human rights violations and the discrimination of vulnerable groups through penning a joint support letter to the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General and the UN affiliates.

Among the 155 youth groups from 62 countries were the Young Peoples Program, Zimbabwe United Nations Association (ZUNA), National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (NANGO) and She Roars, a brand by young women for young women birthed with a need to celebrate young women’s achievements in Zimbabwe.

The organizations called on the UN to intervene on the unjust arrest and detainment of Chairman Man Hee Lee, the founder of International Peace Youth Group (IPYG), and leader of the religious movement Shincheonji amid investigations pinning the blame for South Korea’s Covid-19 outbreak on his church.

Through an open letter addressed to the Korean Government, Programs Director from Zimbabwe United Nations Association, Kudakwashe Mushonga shared that he had worked closely with IPYG in Zimbabwe. “The COVID-19 pandemic is a global crisis which calls upon people to come together by joining hands and move forward towards a bright future for humanity not scape-goating and playing the blame game which only drives us back to individualism and no one wins except the virus.”

According to the report published onthe Fact Check Shincheonji and COVID-19 website,there have been over 5,500 instances of human rights abuses of members of the Shincheonji Church during this period of the ongoing pandemic. Many of these victims are young people who have faced unfair dismissal at their workplaces and bullying at schools, spousal abuse, and even forced conversions because of their affiliation with the church.

The document published by the United States of America Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) addressed that “the virus cannot be an excuse to violate the human rights and religious liberty of hundreds of thousands of believers and intolerance, violence, and discrimination against Shincheonji should be put to an end.” Through the joint letter, young people around the world appeal to the international community to fight for social injustice and equality through promoting unity.

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende