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North Korea

Life under “mighty” Kim

Christian Solidarity Worldwide demands that the North Korean regime should face the International Criminal Court, for its “egregious human rights abuses.”

SOURCES CSW, Premier Christianity, Evangelical Focus AUTHOR Evangelical Focus PYONGYANG 24 FEBRUARY 2016 18:50 h GMT+1
David Guttenfelder, north korea, photos, kim, A camera is embedded in the wall and used to record inside an auditorium at the Mangyongdae Schoolchildren's Palace in Pyongyang, North Korea, 27 February 2008. / David Guttenfelder

Religious freedom charity Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has called for the enactment of the United Nations Commission's recommendations regarding the North Korea regime.

Two years ago, the UN Commission of Inquiry stated that the regime should face the International Criminal Court (ICC) for its "egregious human rights abuses.” The country denies reports about persecution of Christians.

It found that "the gravity, scale and nature of human rights violations in North Korea reveal a state that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world."



The UN detailed crimes against humanity including “extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, and the forcible transfer of populations.”

“There is an almost complete denial of the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, as well as the rights to freedom of opinion, expression, information and association.” it continued.


Senior military members approach an area where new North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and other military and political leaders stand, 16 February 2012. / David Guttenfelder.

The report concluded that such crimes against humanity are continuing because "the policies, institutions and patterns of impunity that lie at their heart remain in place."



"The resolutions and debates in the UN, European and UK parliaments show that the world is aware of the human rights crisis. This is not enough. We must ensure that those responsible are held to account in the ICC." The CSW's chief executive, Mervyn Thomas, said.

The charity's call is the latest in a long line of representatives making the case for international legal action against the country.



A European Parliament resolution last month stressed that "the violations described in the Commission's report have been taking place for far too long under the observing eyes of the international community."

Meanwhile, a UN General Assembly resolution on 17 December 2015 condemned “long-standing and ongoing systematic, widespread and gross violations of human rights” in North Korea. In a UN Security Council debate on 10 December 2015, several countries voiced support for a debate on referring North Korea to the ICC.



North Korea has headed the Open Doors World Watch List for the 14th consecutive year. However, the association estimates there are 300,000 Christians in the country, after 60 years of oppression.


Men stand in a cornfield in Songchon County, North Korea, 13 August 2012. / David Guttenfelder

“We measure six persecution indicators, and North Korea got the highest score in the 5 categories. Its control of the people is so big that the violence does not have a high score, because we really do not know what happens there.” Ted Blake, Director of Open Doors Spain, told Protestante Digital.

“It is so difficult for Christians to live there, the control over the North Korean society is extreme.” he concluded.

Korea, along with Somalia, is also the most corrupted country of the world, according to the Corruption Perception Index.



The first Bible translated into both English and the North Korean dialect was published on July 2015, by Christian association Voice of Martyrs (VOM). People in North Korea who own a Bible can be executed.

That is why VOM launches large hydrogen balloons into North Korea, carrying the Christian message. In 2013, they launched 500,000 Christian flyers and 50,000 New Testaments in those balloons.


A woman sits next to models of military weapons at a festival for the Kimilsungia and Kimjongilia flowers, named after the country's late leaders, in Pyongyang, North Korea, 24 July 2013. / David Guttenfelder

Religious leaders are persecuted, detained, and forced to publicly confess crimes against the country that they have not committed.



But North Korean authorities deny that Christians are persecuted under the regime.

In a dialogue on Twitter with an Evangelical Focus journalist, the North Korean Delegate for Cultural Relations Alejandro Cao, mocked evangelical Christians, saying: “You take advantage of drug addicts and homeless people to force them to become evangelists in exchange of a plate of soup.”

The regime even gets its own agents to act as clergymen, to pretend there is some kind of religious freedom in the country.


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