Religion, from the Latin religio -onis, akin to religare «to bind». A demanding term in times of coronavirus and social distances. In reality, the concept of religare refers to the beliefs, feelings and rites that bind an individual or a human group with what it considers sacred. And it is the link with these sentiments and values common to each creed that, even in these difficult times, guides religions to mobilize to help others.
Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today expressed its concern over reports that religious minority groups from around the world have faced discrimination because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Religious communities have been harassed and accused of bringing COVID-19 to their countries.
Our federated CAP LC organised an event to be held on March 4, 2020, as a sideline of the Human Rights Council, a conference on Human Rights in the People’s Republic of China. On March 3, the HRC Secretariat announced that all side-events were canceled due to the COVID-19 epidemic. Despite the cancellation, conference speakers met at the United Nations to make their voices heard on human rights concerns in the People’s Republic of China.
"We are scholars, human rights activists, reporters. and lawyers, all with a substantial experience in the field of new religious movements (derogatorily called “cults” by their opponents). Some of us have studied the Korean Christian new religious movement known as Shincheonji Church of Jesus, the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony (in short, Shincheonji).
Despite suspicions to the contrary, the Shincheonji Church of Jesus membership list that authorities obtained through a probe was not much different from the list the Christian sect had provided earlier.
Some politicians, heads of local governments and Justice Ministry officials had called for a prosecutorial investigation into the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, accusing the sect of hampering disease control efforts by intentionally omitting names from the list it submitted.
H.E. Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner of Human Rights
H.E. Ambassador Sam Brownback, US Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom
Dear President Bachelet:
Dear Ambassador Brownback:
We represent international NGOs specialized in the defense of religious liberty. We are deeply concerned with a growing number of instances of intolerance and discrimination against Shincheonji, a South Korean new religious movement, after a number of its members were diagnosed with COVID-19.
by Massimo Introvigne (CESNUR) — Media all around the world are focusing attention on Shincheonji Church, a South Korean Christian new religious movement, after members of the church’s Daegu congregation were infected by the coronavirus. As a scholar who has studied Schincheonji, I am concerned with the fact that international media that obviously know nothing about it have ‘discovered’ this church overnight because of the coronavirus incidents in Korea, and have repeated inaccurate information they found on low-level Internet sources.
As representatives of NGOs, religious organizations, and citizens concerned about freedom of religion and belief and the dignity of every human being, we call the attention of the political authorities on the dramatic situation of The Church of Almighty God (CAG) in China. The CAG is a Chinese Christian religious movement, credited by the Chinese authorities with four million members in China. Since its establishment in 1991, it has been systematically persecuted. Irrespective of its theology, we believe that the CAG, as any other religion, has the right to freely profess its faith.
Prof. Nicola Colaianni, member of the FOB Scientific Committee commented on the decision of the Court of Appeals of Rome: "I agree with the decision of the Court of Appeals. I am puzzled by measures such as that of the juvenile court. Evidently the path of religious freedom is struggling to progress and stops before Jehovah’s Witnesses.”
“Anti-cultists” sometimes accuse religious groups of committing child abuse or human trafficking. But the story we tell here reveals that some leading representatives of the “anti-cult” movement may themselves be guilty of horrific crimes involving children. And their colleagues are culpably silent.