For the past twelve years, North Korea has topped the Open Doors World Watch List as the most repressive regime against Christian believers. The United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (the “Commission”) conducted a systematic investigation of the ongoing atrocities in North Korea. (The recently released reports in both the 35-page summary and the 372-page detailed report are available here.
The detailed report is difficult to read because of the brutality described therein.) The Commission stated that “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.” The report concluded that the dictatorship of Kim Jung Un “considers the spread of Christianity a particularly severe threat,” and as a result, “Christians are prohibited from practicing their religion and are persecuted.” Well, of course, the use of the term “persecution” by an agency of the usually sanguine United Nations is diplomat-speak for horrific abuse. Severe punishment is inflicted on any person caught practicing their Christian faith. The Commission noted in its report that between 80,000 and 120,000 political prisoners are currently detained in four political prison camps, “where deliberate starvation has been used as a means of control and punishment.” The actual number of those trapped in the hellish North Korean prison camps is likely to be much higher.
Last week, South Korean newspapers reported that North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Un, had ordered the deaths of 33 people alleged to have received money for building 500 underground churches from South Korean missionary Kim Jung Wook. As is customary in North Korea, the executions will take place publicly. (You may recall that late last year, Kim Jong Un’s uncle and mentor, Jang Song-Thaek, was executed, along with his brothers, children, and grandchildren.) The background of the South Korean missionary Kim is still unclear, as some sources claim he was arrested in North Korea last October, while others said he was kidnapped in China by North Korean secret agents. Poignantly, North Korea Freedom Coalition Chairman Suzanne Scholte reminded the U.S. Congress just last week that the international community promised after Nazi Germany’s treatment and murder of six million Jews to never allow such atrocities again. And yet, such atrocities continue unabated in North Korea. In fact, it is a stunning reality that North Korea’s satanic political prison camps have been in existence 10 times longer than the Nazi death camps, and three times longer than the Soviet gulags. Open Doors USA President David Curry said in a statement issued this past Monday, “Usually when persecution increases in a country, the heart of the gospel of Jesus Christ is rapidly spreading.” Please pray for the lives of these 33 Christian believers awaiting execution, and please pray for the at least several hundred thousand secret Christian believers of North Korea. Please also pray for the freedom of the American missionary, Kenneth Bae, who remains in North Korean prison.