A recent report from the US State Department has unveiled a horrifying incident of religious persecution in North Korea, where a toddler was sentenced to life imprisonment in a prison camp due to the discovery of a Bible in the possession of the child's family.
Although the incident occurred in 2009, it gained attention in the State Department's Report on International Religious Freedom: Democratic People's Republic of Korea for 2022, released earlier this month. The report highlights the unfortunate reality faced by individuals in North Korea, UPI reported. According to the report, the entire family, including a two-year-old child, received life sentences in political prison camps due to their Bible possession. These revelations are based on the accounts of defectors who escaped the regime's brutality between 2007 and 2020.
The government, led by the Kim family, considers Christians the most dangerous political class and subjects them to violent and intense persecution, as stated by Open Doors. North Korean parents are forced to hide their faith from their children, and any form of worship is conducted secretly, with churches consisting of only a few individuals or even non-existent.
In addition, The Telegraph reported that the US State Department's report estimates that there are between 200,000 and 400,000 clandestine Christians in North Korea. These Christians are often forced to worship secretly and face severe punishment if caught. The report also documents many other human rights abuses in North Korea, including torture, forced labor, and arbitrary detention. It calls on the North Korean government to respect the human rights of its citizens, including the right to freedom of religion. As mentioned, sentencing a toddler to life in prison for possessing a Bible is a clear example of the North Korean government's disregard for human rights. The international community must continue to pressure the North Korean government to respect the human rights of its citizens.
Bibles Banned in North Korea
As per Asia News, a report from the Database Center for North Korean Human Rights (NKDB) has found that religious persecution in North Korea has worsened in recent years. NKDB director Sokeel Park stated that the North Korean government is increasingly concerned about the spread of religion, which it sees as a threat to its authority. He added that the government uses fear and intimidation to suppress religious activity. Moreover, the report's findings remind people of the harsh reality of life in North Korea for those who dare to practice religion. The North Korean government's persecution of religious believers violates human rights and must be stopped.
Despite the persecution, the report found that the number of people who have "seen a Bible" has increased by 4% yearly since 2000. It suggests that the spread of Christianity in North Korea is continuing, even in the face of government repression. Furthermore, in 2021, the Missions Box reported that a law was passed by the South Korean government earlier this month that would make it illegal to send anything considered "anti-North Korean material" into the country. The law could significantly impact the work of organizations like The Voice of the Martyrs Korea (VOM Korea), which has been using balloons to send Bibles and other Christian materials into North Korea for over a decade.
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