Christians of Catholic and Protestant raised one voice for North Korean democratization and human rights improvement.
On June 23, in the early afternoon, there was a service held together by Catholics and Protestant in South Korea at Myongdong Catholic Church. This day is a “Special Prayer Session for North Korean Freedom of Religion and Martyrs (missionaries) during the Korean War.
Many North Korean human rights related NGOs and activists participated in the prayer session, including Chairman Choi Sung Kyu of The Christian Council of Korea, Human Rights Commissioner Suh Kyung Seok, Publisher Kim Sang Chul of The Future Korea Weekly, and Lee Dong Bok of North Korea Democratization Forum, and Rev. Chun Ki Won of Durihana Mission.
Christian and Catholic Leaders Gathered to Discuss about NK Human Rights
Michael Horowitz of Hudson Institute, who was visiting South Korea at the time, attended the prayer session and together with Secretary General Deborah Fikes of the Ministerial Alliance of Midland, Texas met with Archbishop Jung Jin Seok of the Seoul Catholic Parish and discussed about North Korean human rights.
President Sohn Byung Doo of the Seoul Believers' Association explained objectives of this day’s prayer session as “human rights and democracy, freedom of belief are basic human rights and are universal valued of all mankind.”
“Catholics who took a leading role in democratization of South Korea during the 1970s and 1980s must once again take the lead for North Korean human rights and democratization,” said Mr. Sohn.
Mr. Sohn said, “Seoul Believers' Association has been holding “Prayer session for North Korean human rights and democratization” every Thursday since last October and there will be ceaseless activities until democratization is achieved in North Korea.” Recently, on July 3, Seoul Believers' Association held “Peace Concert to Help North Korean Defectors.”
In the opening speech, Choi Sung Kyu, the representing protestant pastor, said, “We respect all the believers in Catholic church praying for North Korean human rights improvement, and The Christian Council of Korea promises to join them. We will be together for North Korean human rights until North Korea abandons the nuclear weapons and the peace reaches the Korean peninsula.”
American NK Human Rights Activists Welcome South Korean Faith-Based Movements
Secretary General Deborah Fikes introduced Maryland as “home for many leaders who have high interest in human rights and democracy, and President Bush is one of them.”
“If the ceasefire line were drawn 70 km lower to the South, you and your children would be living under oppression and poverty,” said Ms. Fikes while he emphasized, “Unless we determine ourselves firmly to bring new changes and miracles to North Korea today, at this moment, there will be no hope for the people in North Korea.”
Mr. Horowitz expressed his hope by saying, “Thanks to the passionate Koreans in the US, awareness for North Korean human rights and democracy increased a lot inside the US. I expect the voice for North Korean democratization to increase not only in South Korea but also to resonate across North Korea.”
As a Jewish immigrant to the US, Mr. Horowitz described his experience as, “During the World War II, I learned about the value of freedom by watching my suffering father under the Nazis.” He then turned a question to Koreans by asking, “When your children grow up and ask you what you were doing while the people in North Korea were living unclothes and with no food, will you be able to give them a proud answer?”
Christian movement for North Korean human rights will be continuing. also held “The Mass National Rally Against North Korean Nuclear and For North Korean Human Rights” on June 26 and carried out the heat for North Korean democratization.