12/18/2020 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – With one of the most consistently egregious human rights records in the world, North Korea deserves the international community’s strongest possible censure. This point was highlighted by an open letter sent to South Korean president Moon Jae-in earlier this week.
The letter, signed by 45 groups representing over 300 civil society organizations including ICC, was led by the International Coalition to Stop Crimes Against Humanity in North Korea and urges South Korea to take a stronger role in the push against North Korea’s human rights and religious freedom violations.
Just this week, President Moon and his supporters in the South Korean Parliament passed a law that criminalizes sending the sending of leaflets to North Korea. The law creates a three-year prison sentence for what used to be a common means of encouraging pro-freedom sentiment within the North Korean regime. Millions of leaflets have been sent across the border in recent years. The anti-leaflet law is seen as a capitulation to North Korea, which publicly expressed outrage over the leaflets just a few months ago and shortly thereafter blew up a joint liaison office on the border in a dramatic protest of the practice.
Last month, South Korea again refused to cosponsor a resolution in the UN General Assembly which condemns the lack of human rights in North Korea. This refusal is illustrative of the fact that South Korea, with President Moon at its head, is unwilling to take a strong stance for human rights, including religious freedom which is very severely restricted in North Korea.
“South Korea’s failure to speak out about North Korea’s abusive and misguided measures,” the letter says, “signals a lack of genuine concern for the country’s deteriorating human rights situation. We urge you to once again demonstrate leadership in promoting human rights in North Korea.”
International Christian Concern has been involved in advancing religious freedom in North Korea for many years, and adds its voice to the above sentiment in the strongest possible terms. It is essential that the international community, including South Korea, band together to push for the advancement of human rights in North Korea. North Korea’s many innocent civilians deserve no less.