The situation for Christians and practicing religious individuals in North Korea continues to be dire, according to a new report released by a South Korean nonprofit.
Consider that only 23 percent of victims targeted for their religious beliefs survive their punishment, with 18 percent dying at the hands of the North Korean government, and the vast majority — 80 percent — going missing, according to a recent survey from The Database Center for North Korean Human Rights.
Based on data derived from surveys of 11,730 North Koreans who left their country and went to South Korea after 2007, the organization learned of 65,282 instances of religious persecution among 38,238 North Koreans, UPI reported.
The resulting report alleges that people who practice religions not sanctioned by the state often times end up either violently attacked, go missing or are killed, according to UPI.
Perhaps most notable — but not necessarily surprising based on what is already known of conditions in North Korea — is the fact that 99 percent of those surveyed said there’s no religious freedom under Kim Jong-un’s restrictive regime.
Just to give a hint into how horrific North Korea purportedly is on the religious rights front, consider that 98 percent of those surveyed said there are no churches available to the public outside of Pyongyang, the nation’s capital. And there are apparently only four or five churches in that city, though they are purportedly used as mere props for tourists visiting the country.
These claims are consistent with what other groups have been saying about North Korea.
Just consider a separate report from Christian Solidarity Worldwide released in September that called the country “a uniquely isolated and repressed state in an increasingly interconnected global community.”
“The regime is actively hostile to religion and religious believers, both domestically and internationally,” the document reads, in part. “Many North Koreans are suffering because of their faith, and the international community needs to act urgently to end impunity and ensure accountability.”
North Korea is also listed in Open Doors USA’s World Watch List as the worst country in the world for Christians to live in — a tragic designation the country has held for the past 14 years.
According to a Open Doors primer on the dire situation within, Christians are often forced to hide their faith to avoid being sent to labor camps where they face “horrific conditions.”
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