Important new report on religious persecution in North Korea: Christians are the most targeted among faith groups

Thursday, December 24, 2020

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - A groundbreaking new study entitled “Persecuting Faith” has found that Christianity is the most persecuted faith in secretive North Korea, Christianity Today reports. Drawing on the testimonies of 117 defectors, the 2020 report was published by the Korea Future Initiative (KFI) in the hope it will inform any future human rights sanctions applied to North Korea by Western countries.

In its report, KFI cross-references known data with testimony about 273 victims who experienced persecution for their faith in North Korea between 1990 and 2019, CT says. The study found that 80 percent (215) of the victims were Christians. Almost all the other victims (56) were followers of Shamanism, the North Korean folk religion. Women and girls were found to represent 60 percent of the victims overall.

The study found that persecution took the form of arbitrary arrest, detention, imprisonment, and interrogation. A number of individual people suffered several of these abuses, CT reports.

The report also provides details of North Korean government bodies that oversee a network of secret police and citizen informant programs. Moreover, the study reveals what lies behind the persecution: the Korean Workers’ Party Transcendental Guidance System states that “the American imperialists have used religion as a tool to invade our country in the past and today, they are viciously plotting to spread religion to … crush our republic.”

North Korea has ranked No.1 on the Open Doors World Watch List for Christian persecution for 19 consecutive years. The county is very hard to access, but the Open Doors organization believes there are some 300,000 Christians in a population of 25 million, CT said.