Saturday, December 27, 2008

North Korea tough on “those who confess to religious belief”

It is grotesque what North Korea does to its own people. North Korean repression of religious liberty is particularly harsh.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has published a report, “A Prison Without Bars,” based on interviews with North Korean refugees and former security personnel.

Notes the Commission: “it is widely known that there are severe penalties meted out against those discovered practicing banned religions. Many interviewees testified that they had heard about or witnessed severe persecution of persons caught engaging in religious activity.”

Refugees cite one tragic case after another. Punishments include “torture, mistreatment, and the disappearance of those suspected of religious activity.”

One member of the secret police observed that the authorities treat more leniently refugees who flee to China simply in search of jobs and food, even if they seek aid from churches, than those “who confess to religious belief, or are suspected of spreading Christianity.”

[Source: Doug Bando, Senior Fellow in International Religious Persecution at the Institute on Religion and Public Policy, and a former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan.]

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