North Korean Flags
(Photo : Wikimedia Commons: John Pavelka)
North Korea has increased its effort to isolate itself and its people from outside influence.

Most victims of religious persecution in North Korea do not survive, according to a recent report.


Over 99 percent of defectors say that there is no religious freedom in North Korea. Furthermore, over 75 percent of victims do not survive the torture and persecution inflicted upon them for their faith, according to a United Press International (UPI) report on research by the Database Center for North Korean Human Rights (NKBD).

"Most North Korean religious practitioners say they are either Protestant or Roman Catholic. More than 10 percent of interviewees said they are Buddhist," UPI noted from the research.

NKBD, a South Korean nonprofit that aims shed light on the human rights violations in North Korea and to provide support to victims, surveyed 11,730 North Korean defectors and identified 65,282 cases of religious persecution that involved over 38,000 North Koreans. Over 1,000 of those cases involved abuse authorized by the state which involved over 1,000 North Koreans.

Open Doors, a Christian persecution watchdog, categorizes Christian persecution in North Korea as “Extreme.” It ranks North Korea as number one its World Watch List for Christian persecution as it has been for the last 14 years.

“Christianity is not only seen as “opium for the people,” as is normal for all communist states, it is also seen as deeply Western and despicable. Christians try to hide their faith as far as possible to avoid arrest and being sent to labor camps with horrific conditions,” according to the Open Doors website.

Only 1.2 percent of defectors said secretly practiced religion in North Korea, according to the report.

Nearly all defectors (98 percent) say that there are no houses of worship outside of the capital city, Pyongyang. International Christian Concern reports that even churches in the capital are on display for foreigners.