Overseas religious relief organizations have been active in responding to the country’s food crisis; however, they have been denied access to many areas of the country and their movement restricted and closely monitored.
According to some defectors, the regime has increased repression and persecution of unauthorized religious groups in recent years. These defectors reported that persons engaging in religious proselytizing, persons with ties to overseas evangelical groups operating across the border in China, and specifically, persons repatriated and found to have contacted Christian missionaries outside the country have been arrested and subjected to harsh unishment.
Religious and human rights groups outside the country continued to provide numerous unconfirmed reports that members of underground churches have been beaten, arrested, detained in prison camps, tortured, or killed because of their religious beliefs. Members of underground churches connected to border missionary activity were regarded as subversive elements.
-- Excerpt of latest State Department’s Human Rights report, country section on North Korea