Payday loansPayday Loans

Recent News

  • Myanmar Politician Preparing to Seek Legal Limits on Interfaith, Interethnic Marriage

  • Call for Religious Leaders to Teach Acceptance in Malaysia

  • Attacks on religion, liberty

  • Can Muslim lands learn to tolerate Christianity?

  • China vents anger over Dalai Lama's planned Norway visit

  • Militia attack Muslims in Central African Republic's capital

  • Egypt’s new charter stronger on personal freedoms

  • Pussy Riot members freed from prison

  • Frank Wolf, champion of religious freedom, will end congressional career

  • A Political Deal in a Deeply Divided Tunisia as Islamists Agree to Yield Power

  • Egyptian Christians Bridle at Prison Terms for Copts Only in Fatal Clash

  • The Central African Republic descending into ‘complete chaos’

  • French burqa ban challenged in top European court

  • Sharia in Sudan v. women and religious freedom

  • China aims to harness religious beliefs to promote harmony

  • Afghanistan Considers Reinstating Public Stoning for Adultery

  • Sunnis Close Baghdad Mosques to Challenge Religious Attacks

  • Modi campaign stirs religious divide in India's heartland

  • Aung San Suu Kyi, and Myanmar, faces an uncertain future

  • Syrian Christians flee persecution as Patriarch urges them to stay in war-torn country

  • Central African Republic on the verge of genocide, France warns UN

  • Myanmar rejects U.N. resolution on Rohingya Muslims

  • How the State Department Is Getting Religion

  • UN to Myanmar: Make Rohingya Muslims citizens

  • Our Failed Religious Freedom Policy

  • Turkey drops a screen over Christianity

  • Opinion: The oppression of Bahais continues in Iran

  • TAJIKISTAN: "The Law demands that all religious literature be checked by the State"

  • Sudan’s Enduring Question: The Role of Shari'ah in the Constitution and Law

  • The Role of the Hijab Is Becoming a National Problem for Russia

  • For Indian Christian leader, Narendra Modi is a threat to religious freedom

  • Commentary: The two faces of India

  • With 'loving kindness', Myanmar frees 69 political prisoners

  • New U.N. Rights Council Members Are Elected

  • Turkish court lifts headscarf ban for attorneys

  • Egypt's Christians close ranks as kidnappings spike

  • Hundreds of Buddhists in Myanmar protest Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s upcoming visit

  • Frank Wolf Renews Calls for Release of U.S. Pastor from Iranian Prison

  • Many Sunnis and Shias Worry About Religious Conflict

  • China paper blames blind faith of “uncultured” Uighur youth for Xinjiang unrest

  • Turkey's Alevis protest for greater freedoms

  • KAZAKHSTAN: "He was told not to sell religious literature"

  • Myanmar violence between Buddhists, Muslims threatens reforms

  • UZBEKISTAN: Baptist camp ordered seized, Protestant pressured to inform

  • Tibetans Call China’s Policies at Tourist Spot Tacit but Stifling

  • Violence against Muslims threatening Myanmar reforms: U.N. envoy

  • Putin says unnamed foreign foes use radical Islam to weaken Russia

  • Malaysia’s curbs on use of the term ‘Allah’ hurting its moderate Muslim image

  • Vietnamese Court Orders Two Parishioners of Vinh Diocese Jailed

  • Opinion:State Department stays mute on persecuted religious minorities worldwide

  • Turkey, Religious Freedom and the Current State of Christian-Muslim Dialogue (1895)

  • In Nigeria, Wedlock Seen as Terror Fix

  • Northern Iraq no longer safe for Christians

  • Clerics call on UN military force to secure Central African Republic

  • EU condemns Egypt church violence, urges end to religion-based attacks

  • Young Turkish Jews emigrating due to anti-Semitism, tensions with Israel

  • Egypt orders trial of four policemen over killing of Islamist detainees

  • Passion of Pakistani Sufis infuriates Taliban

  • Egyptian writer may face jail for accusations of defaming religion

  • UN expert hails “key breakthrough for religious freedom reached in Cyprus”

  • Kenneth Bae's mother tells of heartbreak after seeing, leaving imprisoned son

  • Conviction of Christians for Murder of Hindu Leader in India Biased, Unfounded, Attorneys Say

  • Opera Fights Hungary’s Rising Anti-Semitism

  • Buddhists and Christians denounce Hanoi for using law to control religions

  • ARMENIA: "Imprisoned conscientious objectors should be immediately and unconditionally released"

  • Bombs planted in confessional box of Syrian church

  • French court upholds Scientology fraud conviction

  • Suzan Johnson Cook to resign as religious freedom ambassador

  • BELARUS: Why is Catholic priest still detained by KGB secret police?

  • Q&A: What Court Decision on Use of ‘Allah’ Means for Malaysia

  • The Surprising Story Of 'Thomas Jefferson's Qur'an'

  • Religious tension runs deep for Vietnam’s minorities

  • Malala Yousafzai wins EU's Sakharov human rights prize

  • Religious liberty takes center stage in diplomacy with Iran

  • Turban row: Sikh NGO wins case against France at UN

  • Vietnam Lets Churches Thrive, but Keeps Control

  • KAZAKHSTAN: Pastor to be transferred from prison to house arrest

  • Kenya Salvation Army Church Torched; Four Killed

  • Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng gets U.S. platform to promote human rights

  • Orthodox leader calls for end Christians' persecution

  • Jewish groups slam Council of Europe Assembly resolution on circumcision

  • Opinion: Quebec’s coup d’etat against religious freedom

  • Small town, big impact: Supreme Court case could define religion’s role in public

  • European council passes anti-ritual circumcision resolution

  • Council of Muftis complain to U.S. reps about disrespect for Muslims in Russia

  • Woman, 94, killed as Buddhist rioters attack Muslim villages in western Myanmar

  • RUSSIA: What's wrong with "extremist" Koran translation?

  • Persecution against Christians increases in many parts of the world

  • How Promotion of Religious Freedom Can Help Prevent Extreme Violence

  • RUSSIA: Muslims rush to challenge Koran "extremism" ruling

  • Judge Ordered Sikh to Remove 'That Rag' from Head, Says ACLU

  • Donate by Paypal or Credit Card

    Solution Graphics

    Click Amazon to Help ICRF

    amzn-ba100x70.gif (2357 bytes)

    Help ICRF with your donation

    Follow ICRF on Twitter

    Twitter Image

    Like Us on Facebook

    Facebook Image
    Leterr From the University of Denver Center for International Human Rights Law & Advocacy Print E-mail

    University of Denver Logo

     

     

     


    Sturm College of  Law

    Center for International    
    Human Rights Law           
    &Advocacy




                       



    March 23, 2010


    Keiko Chiba

    Ministry of Justice

    1-1-1   Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku

    Tokyo, Japan 100-8977


    Dear Ms. Chiba,


    I write on behalf of the Center for International Human Rights Law and Advocacy at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law to express concern over reported religious kidnappings of Unification Church members and the failure of the Japanese government to address the issue.  The Unification Church reports that since 1966, over 4,000 church members have been abducted and confined against their will in attempts to “deprogram” them of their religious beliefs.[1] Since August 2009, five members of the church have gone missing and are suspected to be in confinement.[2] These kidnappings are typically undertaken by the victim’s family members in conjunction with leaders of other religious organizations.[3] In each known case, the victim was taken by force, confined, deprived of the right to communicate with others, and subjected to intense pressure to change his or her religious beliefs.[4] In one recent long confinement, church member Toru Goto was held by his family for 12 years and 5 months while Christian church leaders undertook intense efforts to change his faith.[5]


    The Unification Church further asserts that despite victims’ numerous reports to the police, not a single case has been prosecuted.[6] Victims routinely report that their cases were dismissed because the confinement is viewed as a “family matter.”[7] Japan, as a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), has an international duty to protect the religious rights of its citizens.[8] Most relevantly, Article 18 of the ICCPR provides in subsection 2 that “No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice.”[9] We respectfully submit that Japan not only has a duty to abstain from religious coercion but to also actively protect its citizens from such coercion by others, even family members.  The use of forcible confinement to encourage religious conversion crosses the line between persuasion and impermissible coercion under the ICCPR.  Thus, we contend that Japan has a duty to investigate the issue and to take measures to protect the religious rights of its citizens.


    To meet this duty, we encourage the Japanese government to guarantee that the police search for all reported missing church members and investigate all past cases of kidnapping and confinement, bringing charges against perpetrators when appropriate.  Such actions will not only allow closure for past victims and freedom for current victims, but will also prevent religious kidnappings and confinements from happening in Japan in the future.



    Sincerely,


    Nicole Blake Lyells

    Center for International Human Rights Law and Advocacy

    University of Denver

    Sturm College of Law




    Cc:   Mr. Takihoro Yokomichi, Speaker of the House of Representatives of Japan

    Mr. Satsuki Eda, Chairman of the House of Councilors of Japan

    Mr. Ichiro Fujisaki, Ambassador of Japan to the United States




    [1] Gentaro, Kajikuri, Stop Religious Kidnapping and Forced Conversion in Japan (November 21, 2009), found at http://www.religiousfreedom.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=53&Itemid=30 (last accessed March 10, 2010).

    [2] Burton, Douglas, Tokyo Resident Believed to be the Latest Kidnap Victim in Japan, found at http://www.familyfed.org/news/index.php?id=111&page=1&apage=1 (last accessed March 15, 2010).

    [3] Supra, Note 1.

    [4] Id.

    [5] Goto, Toru, Toru Goto’s Testimony At the founding assembly of Association to Eliminate Religious Kidnapping and Forced Conversion (November 21, 2009), found at http://www.religiousfreedom.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=55&Itemid=30 (last accessed March 10, 210).

    [6] Supra, note 1.

    [7] Colvin, Alex, Deprogramming in Japan (February 22, 2010), found at http://www.religiousfreedom.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=470 (last accessed March 17, 2010).

    [8] List of signatories found at http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en (last accessed March 15, 2010).

    [9] International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 18 (2), found at http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/ccpr.htm (last accessed March 12, 2010)