Lisbon, Portugal—UPF-Portugal marked Human Rights Day by discussing violations of Japanese Unificationists’ religious freedom.
With this program, titled "Universal Rights and Religious Freedom," UPF informed some of its closest key contacts and friends (especially Ambassadors for Peace and representatives of partner organizations) about the current situation of persecution of the Unification Church/Family Federation in Japan.
Approximately 40 participants attended the event on December 10, 2022, in the UPF Peace Embassy, with many others joining online.
The program was organized jointly by UPF and the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU), an organization that is affiliated with UPF.
After an informative video on human rights, Dr. Sérgio Neto, the leader of FFWPU-Portugal, spoke about the evolution of the UPF founders’ work. Beginning with the spiritual revelation that Jesus gave to a teenaged Reverend Moon, Dr. Neto described the mission of Rev. and Mrs. Moon, and also the reason for the many organizations created by the Unification Movement.
Despite various legal, social and statutory differences, all these organizations seek essentially the reconciliation and the brotherly unity of humankind. In Portugal, the Unification Church was registered in 2008 with the same rights as other religions with the same status.
Dr. Sérgio Vieira, the president of UPF-Portugal, continued the explanation of the founders’ work but focused on the current situation of the Unification Church in Japan, which has suffered increasing persecution since the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in July 2022.
The presentation included a summary of the three submissions already made to the UN Human Rights Committee (UN HRC) concerning the religious rights violations occurring in Japan.
The program then gave the participants the opportunity to present questions regarding religious freedom, the reason for the persecution of religions, and more specifically about the persecution of the Unification Church.
The answers given by the Ambassadors for Peace and partners, both present in the room and online, were very revealing for their solidarity in decrying a situation completely opposite to the consecrated and universal human rights.
These speakers were: Dr. Ajit Hansraj from the Hindu Community of Portugal; Dr. Teresa Prim from Brahma Kumaris Portugal; Professor Nuno André from Lusophone University; Professor Delmar Gonçalves from the Mozambican Writers Circle; and Dr. Cristina Carvalho and Rev. Barros Banza of the Anglican Church.
The online meeting ended after a photograph of the online participants, but the event continued offline with the offering of the founders’ autobiographies and the booklet Shinzo Abe and the Unification Church; a group photo and fellowship moments with those in attendance. Fraternal Embrace! "We Are Together!"