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Christians in North Korea face severe torture, USCRIF report shows

North Korea’s communist dictatorship has been deploying factions within the regime to carry out wrongful arrests, torture, executions and the denial of fundamental religious freedom rights as it seeks to “exterminate all Christian adherents and institutions,” the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom says in a report.


In its report, “Organized Persecution – Documenting Religious Freedom Violations in North Korea,” USCIRF says the violations it documented “as occurring as recently as 2020, are seemingly designed to remove all traces of Christianity.”

“The campaign to exterminate all Christian adherents and institutions in North Korea has been brutally effective, and continues through the work of the Ministry of State Security, networks of informants that stretch into China, the presence of ‘no-exit’ political prison camps, executions, and an educational and organizational system that deters adherence through schools, workplaces, and neighborhoods,” says the report, which is based on interviews of survivors, witnesses and perpetrators of religious freedom violations in 2020 and 2021.

The freedoms in North Korea are “subordinate to and overruled by a document known as the Ten Principles for Establishing a Monolithic Leadership System,” which has as its purpose to bring each North Korean individual’s thoughts and acts in line with the teachings of Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il, and Kim Jong Un, it says.

USCIRF also found that the Workers’ Party of Korea maintains church buildings in Pyongyang, and “it instructs a small group of approved specialized cadres to perform Christian ceremonies in these buildings, while at the same time forbidding North Korean citizens — including that group of specialised cadres — to live as Christians.”


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