‘Nightmare That Doesn’t End’—North Korea Freedom Week Spotlights Human Rights Abuses

April 21, 2006

SANTA ANA, Calif., April 19 /Christian Newswire/ — It is estimated that between 2 and 3 million North Koreans have died over the past 10 years – most of them due to starvation – under the brutal dictatorship of President Kim Jong Il.

North Koreans are denied basic freedoms and rights.

Thousands are detained in prison camps, tortured and executed. It is believed that tens of thousands of Christians are currently among those suffering in North Korean prison camps. The hermit regime is suspected of detaining more political and religious prisoners than any other country in the world.

Hundreds of thousands of North Koreans have fled to China just to survive. Thousands have been sent back and probably killed.

North Korea is entering its fourth year as the world’s worst violator of religious rights of Christians, according to Open Doors’ 2006 World Watch List. Last fall the U.S. Department of State redesignated North Korea as a “Country of Particular Concern” for severe violations of religious freedom.

Soon Ok Lee, a former North Korean political prisoner, says: “We need to speak out about these abuses. Many need to join in and stop the persecution of Christians and the human rights violations. Please join me in this effort.”

Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) adds: “In North Korea we hear reports of religious believers being tortured, imprisoned and even executed for their beliefs. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom recently documented some of these terrible incidents that fall on believers who refuse to renounce their faith. We must all confront this intolerable evil. Please join me in commemorating North Korea Freedom Week.”

During North Korea Freedom Week April 22-30, Open Doors USA – a ministry celebrating 50 years of supporting and strengthening persecuted Christians – is partnering with North Korea Freedom Coalition (NKFC) members to focus on atrocities in North Korea, increase awareness of the conditions in that communist country and raise up prayers on behalf of those being abused and disenfranchised.

Activities centered in Washington, D.C., include:

April 27 – Wreath laying ceremony at the Korean War Memorial at 4 p.m.
April 28 – North Korea Freedom Day Capitol Hill rally 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
April 28-29 – Prayer Vigil at the Chinese Embassy from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m.

There are also prayer vigils planned April 28 from 7-9 p.m. in front of the Chinese consulate in Los Angeles (443 Shatto Place) and April 29 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Chinese consulate in Houston (3417 Montrose Blvd). For more information email Lindsay Vessey, Open Doors USA Advocacy Coordinator, at lindsayv@odusa.org.

To get involved in North Korea Freedom Week, go to the Open Doors USA Web site at http://www.opendoorsusa.org or the NKFC Web site at http://www.nkfreedom.org.

“North Korea could be compared to one large concentration camp – with the entire population trapped in a nightmare that doesn’t end,” says Open Doors USA President Dr. Carl Moeller. “Like Soon Ok Lee and Sen. Brownback urge, get involved. Get others involved. Thousands are suffering, including many religious and political prisoners.”

NKFC is a bipartisan coalition of religious, human rights and non-governmental Korean and American organizations whose primary purpose is to bring freedom to the North Korean people and to ensure that the human rights component of United States and world policy towards North Korea receives priority attention.

Open Doors, celebrating 50 years of service to persecuted Christians, serves and strengthens the Persecuted Church in the world’s most difficult areas through Bible and Christian literature distribution, leadership training and assistance, Christian community development, prayer and presence ministry and advocacy on behalf of suffering believers. To partner with Open Doors, call toll free at 888-5-BIBLE-5 (524-2535) or go to our USA Web site at http://www.opendoorsusa.org.

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