Friday, March 10, 2006

North Korea’s Caste System

“Officials have stratified North Korean society into 51 specific categories on the basis of family background and perceived loyalty to the regime.

“Religious adherents are by definition relegated to a lower category, receiving fewer privileges and opportunities, such as education and employment.

“Persons in lower categories have reportedly been denied food aid.

“Prisoners held on the basis of their religious beliefs are treated worse than other inmates. For example, religious prisoners, especially Christians, are reportedly given the most dangerous tasks while in prison. In addition, they are subject to constant abuse from prison officials in an effort to force them to renounce their faith. When they refuse, these religious prisoners are reportedly beaten and have died following torture.”

[Excerpts from The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)]

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