The All Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief (APPG) today published the findings of its Parliamentary Inquiry into persecution in North Korea. The report, Religion and Belief in the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, includes witness accounts of the horrific human rights abuses suffered by religious and belief minorities in the country, which often go unheard because of the secrecy of the regime.
It concludes: “The DPRK systematically oppresses freedom of religion or belief, and Christians in particular are targeted by the regime and subjected to chronic human rights abuses, amounting to crimes against humanity.”
The report makes a number of recommendations to the British Government, including that it pursue the referral of the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea to the International Criminal Court to account for its treatment of its citizens. However, it also offers some positive ways in which the APPG believes Britain can help make life more bearable for the people of North Korea. The report recommends that the British Government use its ‘soft power’ to push the North Korean regime for further openness, and urges the BBC World Service to establish a radio broadcast to the Korean Peninsula, in both English and Korean languages, giving citizens a window out of their closed world.
Baroness Berridge, chairman of the APPG, commented: “For the past sixty-plus years, the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea has committed egregious human rights violations – the details of which would turn the stomach of even the most hardened person. This includes banishing those who follow a religion to remote places, incarcerating them, subjecting them to torture in labour camps, and murdering Christians for merely possessing a Bible.
“For many years North Korea has been viewed as an impossible case, but now the international community is finally beginning to afford the country the attention its people so desperately need.”
Hear Baroness Berridge on Radio 4 (begins at 15:40)