Testimonies: Religious minorities tortured in North Korea

“Underground churches made up of small congregations exist in North Korea, but they are rare and subject to extreme levels of persecution. "

The Korea Future organization has just published a report on religious minorities in North Korea, entitled "Torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment". Based on 237 interviews with survivors, witnesses and perpetrators who fled to South Korea, this report says Christians, which has the smallest number of worshipers, is the "most severely persecuted" religious group In North Korea.

According to the report, Christians now living in North Korea come from families who had known the Christian faith before the current regime was established in 1948. These Koreans had gone to China to earn money or find food. , and had then met Christian missionaries there.

“Underground churches made up of small congregations exist in North Korea, but they are rare and subject to extreme levels of persecution. "

The report mentions different forms of torture on members of two religious communities, shamanism and Christianity: deprivation of food, lack of sanitation, physical violence and positional torture. For each of these forms of torture, the report relays chilling testimonies.

A survivor testifies to having eaten chopped radishes mixed with small pebbles and grains of sand.

“Correctional officers chopped frozen radishes. There were only small pebbles and grains of sand served with the radish. At first, I couldn't eat the radish because of the small pebbles and grains of sand cracking between my teeth. But on the fifth day, I had to eat it because I was hungry. "

A witness tells of the death of a Christian woman who led a group of houses.

“His lip was ragged. The police held her hair and banged her head against the bars in the cell. A policeman told him to put his hand on the ground. He stepped on it and turned his feet 90 degrees. All his fingers broke. She was refused medical treatment. I told her to stop running the underground church, but she said she had to look after the church members. She later died after being severely physically beaten by officials from the Ministry of State Security. "

Another survivor testifies to positional torture.

“I spent eight months in detention next to [the victim], but the correctional officers beat us with a stick if we spoke or turned our heads when we were subjected to the positional torture. They told us not to move even if a fellow inmate fell dead. "

Korea Future asserts that “the right to freedom of religion or belief is a fundamental principle of international law which shares a normative basis with the right not to be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or human treatment or punishment. degrading ”.


Article originally published on December 17, 2021.

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