IWPG, Joint Memorial Service for the late Gu Ji-inIWPG, Joint Memorial Service for the late Gu Ji-in

“Death by Coercive Conversion, Severe Human Rights Issue”

Held at Reddacliff Place, Brisbane, Australia, along with locations in 40 different other countries

The International Women’s Peace Group (IWPG) and the International Women’s Peace Human Rights Committee had set up a joint memorial altar and held a memorial service at Redcliffe Place in Brisbane, Australia. 

The service was in remembrance for the late Ms. Gu Ji-in, who had passed away after her parents had suffocated her during her attempted escape from a coercive conversion program at a recreational lodge in  in Hwasun, South Jeolla Province on the 30th of December, 2017. 

The memorial service started with a short opening remark concerning the unfortunate situation that played out, followed by a silent tribute for Ms. Gu Ji-in and to the other victims of coercive conversion programs. This was followed by a description of the events that unfolded, a memorial speech and an offering of flowers. About 50 citizens visited the service. 

Mrs. Prakruthi Mysore Gururaj, Peace Ambassador of Australia for IWPG presented the memorial speech, expressed her condolences and said, “A special law against coercive conversion programs should be enacted to work off the grudges of the late Ms. Gu Ji-in, and we have to realise the enactment of such a law so that there won’t be another Gu Ji-in.” 

The International Women’s Peace Human Rights Committee received signatures of support for the petition demanding the ‘Closing of Korea Christian Heresy Research Centre’, the ‘Punishment of Coercive Conversion Pastors’ and the ‘Enactment of a law against religious discrimination’. The demand for all these actions to be taken had already been written to the President of the Republic of Korea on June, 2017 by Ms. Gu Ji-in through the “Shinmungo”, an office of the Blue House which takes in the concerns of the citizens and to become the voice of the people for the President. Leaflets of her letter addressing the President were made available during the service. 

One citizen had this to say regarding the situation; “Although it happened in South Korea, I couldn’t help but join this memorial service as the issues of human rights and religious discrimination go beyond the boundaries of nation and race. It’s such a pity, and I hope the truth is made known so that those who were involved receive the consequences for their actions.” 

In the Republic of Korea, where the incident took place, roughly 120,000 people showed their support for the deceased by turning up to memorial services in about 40 different locations throughout the country.

IWPG presented a petition in regards to the case of Ms. Gu Ji-in and the victims of coercive conversion programs to the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, the National Human Rights Commission of Korea, the Korean National Police Agency, and the Supreme Court of Korea, for the adjustment of these flaws in the Korean constitution in the hopes of eliminating the possibility of any more people falling victim to these unlawful activities instigated by coercive conversion pastors.