North Korea continues to be the hub of Christian persecution as reports of the incidents of Christians being hung on the crosses over fire, and steamrolled and crushed to death emerge. Other atrocities such as rape, torture, enslavement, and killing for being Christians are not new to the Church in North Korea.
Religious Freedom charity group, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) in its report has portrayed dismal situation for the church in the country. It was concluded that religious freedom is non-existent in North Korea, under the dictatorship of Kim Jong-Un.
The report says: “Religious beliefs are seen as a threat to the loyalty demanded by the Supreme Leader, so anyone holding these beliefs is severely persecuted. Christians suffer significantly because of the anti-revolutionary and imperialist labels attached to them by the country’s leadership.”
Some of the other outrageous crimes reported include “extra-judicial killing, extermination, enslavement/forced labor, forcible transfer of population, arbitrary imprisonment, torture, persecution, enforced disappearance, rape and sexual violence, and other inhumane acts,” the report stated.
In the midst of the surging wave of persecution Christians practice their faith in secret, if caught practicing Christianity they face detention in the notorious hard labor camps. “A policy of guilt by association applies, meaning that the relatives of Christians are also detained regardless of whether they share the Christian belief,” the report says.
Despite severe persecution there are reportedly five churches in the North Korean capital- these churches include three Protestant churches, a Catholic cathedral and a Russian Orthodox Church. Additionally there are reports of estimated 500 house churches in the country.
On the pretext of the report, Christian Solidarity Worldwide is calling upon the international community to refer North Korea to the International Criminal Court over its brazen violations of human rights. “The regime is actively hostile to religion and religious believers, both domestically and internationally.
Many North Koreans are suffering because of their faith, and the international community needs to act urgently to end impunity and ensure accountability. The UN and other members of the international community must ensure that human rights are central in any negotiations with North Korea… Every effort must be made to seek accountability and justice for the North Korean people, who suffer human rights abuses on a scale unparalleled in the modern world.”