A US State Department report has found that Christians in North Korea caught with the Bible face the death penalty and their families, including children, convicted. life imprisonment.
The State Department’s 2022 International Religious Freedom Report estimates that up to 70,000 Christians are imprisoned in North Korea, along with people of other faiths. The report asserts that among the many people sent to prison was a two-year-old child believed to have been sentenced to life in prison after his parents were found in possession of a Bible.
The family was arrested for practicing religion and possessing a Bible. The entire family, including a two-year-old child, were sentenced to life in prison in a political prison camp in 2009. Christians imprisoned in these camps have described dire and numerous conditions. form of physical abuse. The report claims that the Ministry of State Security is responsible for 90% of human rights violations recorded against both Shamanic believers and Christians.
The Foreign Ministry, citing a report by Korea Future, a non-profit organization “working to promote justice and support accountability” in North Korea, said the North Korean government persecutes those individuals engaged in religious practices, possessing religious items, having religious affiliation. people, or share religious beliefs. Persecuted people may be arrested, detained, forced to work, tortured, denied a fair trial, deported, denied the right to life, or subjected to sexual violence.
In December 2021, Korea Future released a report documenting the abuse of religious freedom against women in North Korea. The report is based on interviews with 151 Christian women who experienced abuse. The report found that the most common forms of abuse were arbitrary detention, torture, deportation, forced labor and sexual violence.
Many North Korean fugitives have described textbooks with sections on Christian missionaries. The textbook lists a number of “evil deeds” that the missionaries are said to have committed, “including rape, blood-sucking, organ harvesting, murder, and espionage.” One defector told Korea Future that the government had also published graphic novels depicting Christians luring children into church and then taking them down to the basement to draw blood.
The United States and North Korea do not have diplomatic relations. In December, the United States joined other countries in co-sponsoring a United Nations resolution condemning “severe and systematic violations of human rights that persist and take place on a large scale.”
The resolution also expressed “very serious concern” about abuses, including “in some cases, mass executions of individuals exercising their rights to freedom of opinion, expression, religion.” or their beliefs.”