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Photo Credit: Open Doors
Photo Credit: Open Doors
World News

Christians face risk of genocide in North Korea, new report finds

by Kelly Valencia

A new report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on North Korea has revealed that human rights violations have continued since the UN's report published in 2014. 

The APPG report has gathered evidence of human rights violations between 2014 and 2021 finding that North Korean authorities have been involved in murder, torture, sexual and gender-based violence, modern-day slavery, and persecution based on religion or belief.

Speaking to Premier, Benedict Rogers, senior analyst for East Asia for Christian Solidary Worldwide (CSW), explained that one of the key findings of the report was the violation of human rights against Christians. 

"If anything, the situation has got even worse. The APPG suggests that there may also be a case of genocide, particularly in regard to both Christians and half Chinese born people in North Korea."

Open Doors estimates that there are around 400,000 Christians in North Korea who are at risk of being killed if identified as a believer of Christ. 

"Christianity is seen as a dangerous foreign religion which must be combatted aggressively. There is consequently no room for Christians in North Korea, and they must live their lives in utmost secrecy. Reports of Church leaders meeting freely often serve propaganda purposes so to purport a notion of religious freedom to an outside world," the report reads. 

The APPG also claims that the atrocities "amount to crimes against humanity," and suggests that "there are reasons to believe that some of the atrocities reach the threshold of genocide". 

The report also gives extensive recommendations to the UK government to raise awareness and deal with the situation going on in the country. 

It goes from assessing "cases of possible genocidal atrocities"; to "ensure comprehensive humanitarian assistance to all those affected by atrocity crimes in the DPRK"; to making "the best of their sanction regimes to target individual perpetrators."

Rogers said the APPG wants to avoid losing "the momentum" the UN report caused in 2014. 

"There's a real danger that the momentum has slowed, that the reports from the UN sits on a shelf gathering dust and what the APPG is basically saying to the British government is: 'we mustn't allow that to happen'. The UK must keep up the pressure on North Korea, both in terms of pressure for accountability for the terrible human rights atrocities, but also trying to find ways to provide help to the North Koreans as well."

When asked how Christians can stand in solidarity with those in North Korea, Rogers said: "There are quite a number of North Koreans who've escaped from the country and some of whom have ended up in the UK. So we can certainly find ways to meet them, befriend them, encourage them. But for those who are in North Korea, who we can't obviously have any access to, prayers is extremely important."

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