By. Jinhoon Lee
From November 12 to 15, the second convening of Religious Freedom for North Korea was hosted by the International Coalition for Religious Freedom in North Korea (ICRFN). Founded in June 2019, ICRFN has been raising their voice to protect the human rights of North Koreans.
As stated by the Chairman of Global Peace Foundation, Dr. Hyun Jin P. Moon, at the International Forum on One Korea in September, “It is essential that a unified Korea recognizes the transcendent source of rights and freedoms for its citizens, as is reflected in its deeply spiritual heritage. Emerging from division as a new nation, it must be rooted in a firm foundation of universal spiritual principles and moral values. These form the essential bedrock for true liberty.”
Religious freedom is one of the basic tenants afforded to human beings by merit of our common origin. Not only is it essential to the pursuit of a purposeful life for each person, but religious freedom also allows every person to seek truth apart from the constraints of any human institution or government.
The event welcomed speakers such as Bishop Dr. Paul Murray, co-president of the International Religious Freedom Roundtable; and Richard Lee, president of Alliance for Korea United-USA. A number of authorities in the issues facing Korea participated, including Kenneth Bae, president of North Korea Religious Freedom Coalition; Taehoon Kim, president of Nehemiah Global Initiative (NGI); Jaebum Kim, Coalition of Lawyers for Human Rights and Unification of Korean Peninsula (Hanbyun); Ji Seong-ho, a North Korean defector and member of the National Assembly of South Korea; Dr. Chan-il Ahn, president of World Institute for North Korea Studies; and Chulho Kang, pastor of Saeter Church.
The event was made up of both a cultural festival and an international forum. At the cultural festival, the performance of Hyang-jin Jeon and Chae-won Lee, North Korean defector singers; and Mi-kyung Jo, a soprano singer, decorated the stage. A prayer service concluded the event, welcoming a diverse religious coalition to participate in the show of solidarity for the people of North Korea who suffer without basic human rights.
The event was co-hosted by North Korea Religious Freedom Coalition, International Religious Freedom Roundtable, Alliance for Korea United-USA, CNU National Strategy Institute, and sponsored by Action for Korea United (AKU) and Coalition of Lawyers for Human Rights and Unification of Korean Peninsula (Hanbyun).