North Korea: call for evidence on freedom of religion or belief

“Where so much suffering has occurred, and is still occurring, action is the shared responsibility of the entire international community” – UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The 2014 UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) reported on a bleak situation where “international crimes appear to be intrinsic to the fabric of the state. The system is pitiless, pervasive and with few equivalents in modern international affairs.”

Repeatedly, the COI was faced with compelling evidence of the DPRK’s complete denial of the right to freedom of religion or belief, with adherents to Christianity singled out for particularly severe treatment: “people who were caught in the possession of Bibles were tortured during interrogation and in some cases executed afterwards.”

This Inquiry of the APPG on International Freedom of Religion or Belief intends to provide a comprehensive overview of the status of religion and belief in the DPRK, documenting and analysing the situation with a view to the unique role that the UK can play in furthering calls for freedom of religion or belief in North Korea.

Therefore, the APPG on International Freedom of Religion or Belief is currently calling for submissions from charities, experts, faith-communities and individuals with personal experiences or concerns, to address these questions:
• How does the regime of the DPRK respond to religion or belief? Please consider both the DPRK’s treatment of individuals and its overall policy towards religious or belief systems.
• How can the DPRK regime be brought to account?
• What impact has freedom of religion and belief had on South Korea? How does this – or could this – translate to a DPRK context?

We particularly welcome testimonies from individuals who have lived in the DPRK.

Each submission should be no longer than 4 pages, and clearly indicate the organisation and/or author of the statement. The submissions will contribute to a new report written by the APPG on the subject. The APPG can withhold the identities of authors of statements in the report, if a request for anonymity is clearly made in the submission.

Written submissions may result in individuals or organisations being invited to give oral testimonies at a formal hearing before Parliamentarians on 26 November. The APPG holds the right to use or not to use submissions in its reporting.

Submissions should be sent to The deadline for submissions is 5pm, 14 November 2014.