Evidence of unrelenting religious persecution in North Korea


On 10th November, the Database Center for North Korean Human Rights (NKDB) published its 2016 white paper on religious freedom in North Korea. In an effort to gain a better understanding of the human rights situation there, the CSO interviewed defectors from the authoritarian state. According to a survey of 11,730 defectors, an overwhelming 99.6% of the respondents (11,069 people) answered that they were not permitted to freely engage in religious activities in North Korea. More than 66% of respondents said they had been punished for their religious activities, in a variety of forms from forced labor to service in a political prison camp.

Peaceful Assembly 

As previously reported on the Monitor, news about the mass citizen movements that ousted President Park Geun Hye in South Korea may be affecting the propensity of North Koreans to attempt protests. On 14th December, a source in North Pyongan Province told 'Daily NK' that North Korean citizens were astounded at the notion that hundreds of thousands of people can join a mass rally without being arrested. The same source reported on a small-scale protest at a market in the North Korean city of Pyongsong, saying:

'People used to hide their thoughts, but recently, some are voicing demands for civil rights in regards to the notorious state security agents who have been acting tyrannically.'