11/02/2021 United States (International Christian Concern) – Reuters reported this week that China and Russia are circulating a draft resolution in the UN Security Council that would ease sanctions on North Korea. The move refreshes a 2019 resolution written by China and Russia to the same effect though resolution was never formally tabled for a vote by the Security Council.
Though the latest resolution is extremely unlikely to pass even if it is formally tabled this time around, China and Russia’s decision to push this topic again highlights the continuing issue of their support for the rogue regime in North Korea.
A 2014 report to the UN Human Rights Council, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) concluded that the human rights violations perpetrated by the North Korean government “reveal a State that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world.” The OHCHR has continued to study the human rights situation in North Korea since the 2014 report and, in a report released earlier this year, concluded that the regime continues to systematically violate basic human rights, including religion.
A more recent UN report highlights several areas of particular concern, including extremely harsh conditions in the country’s prison system and the torture of prisoners of conscience. The North Korean government, the report states, “is engaged in a systematic and widespread attack against people considered a threat to the country’s political system and leadership, including people who practise [sic] religion.” As part of this attack, people exercising their religion are “systematically imprisoned without due process and are subjected to harsh treatment for exercising basic human rights.”
“We stand with the millions of North Koreans who continue to have their dignity and human rights violated by one of the most repressive and totalitarian states in the world,” said U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price earlier this year. “The civilized world has no place for such brutality, and the international community must continue to speak out.”
North Korea responded saying that the Biden administration had made a “big blunder” and threatening to retaliate against any action the US may take against its interests.
Religious freedom advocates around the world have long called attention to the atrocities taking place in North Korea. Currently led by Kim Jong-un, the authoritarian regime aggressively prosecutes anyone deemed to be working against the interests of the state. Actions as simple as praying, talking about the Bible, and sharing one’s faith can lead to beatings, years of imprisonment, and even torture.
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