Christians in North Korea continue to suffer
North Korea remains the toughest country in the world for Christians. There are approximately 300,000 Christians in the country, with almost a quarter of them 50,000 – 70,000 being held in prisons and labour camps.
Life in North Korea is very tough, with frequent food shortages, power cuts, droughts and other natural disasters. Terrible human rights violations, lack of freedom, constant propaganda and surveillance make things even more difficult.
The leaders of North Korea and the United States meet today in Vietnam for a second round of denuclearisation talks. Taking into account the meetings held in Singapore at the last summit, it is not expected that human rights issues will be a part of the discussions taking place in Vietnam today. However, as Kim Jong-un and President Trump meet, we pray that the shocking human rights abuses of Christians in North Korea will be remembered by many.
We need much prayer for our brothers and sisters in North Korea, as the situation for Christians has grown worse. It has been reported that an increased number of arrests and abductions of South Korean and Chinese missionaries has taken place in China. Border control has intensified, with harsher punishment for North Korean citizens who are repatriated from China.
Appeal for food aid
Last week, leading up to the meeting in Hanoi, North Korea appealed for food aid to the United Nations “after droughts and floods led to a poor harvest, worsening the impact of UN sanctions”, reported the Guardian.
The country has faced sanctions since 2006 as the international community has tried to stop Pyongyang to further develop its nuclear weapon arsenal.
In an undated memo, the regime said an ‘urgent response’ was needed as it would have to cut daily rations. In January it cut daily rations from 550 to 300 grams per person per day.
Open Doors’ underground workers smuggle food to keep 60,000 North Korean Christians alive each month, along with medicines, winter clothes, boots and blankets. Open Doors is raising support to keep this vital work operating amid the increase pressure on Christians.
North Korea is number one on the 2019 Open Doors World Watch List. It has been number one since 2002.
Open Doors’ goal has always been to ‘strengthen what remains and is about to die’ (Revelation 3:2). This verse is especially relevant to the North Korean church. Without our support, many Christians would starve to death. Open Doors works to support the church in North Korea by:
- Supplying persecuted believers with emergency relief aid such as food, medicines and clothes
- Distributing books and other Christian materials
- Training through radio broadcasting
- Providing shelter, aid, training and training materials to North Korean believers in China – who often travel back to North Korea.
That this summit brings about lasting change in North Korea, not only for Christians who have do not have the freedom of religion or belief but also for all the citizens of North Korea who are mistreated, malnourished and at the mercy of a dictator.
Christians in prison camps are treated worse than the other prisoners. They are made to perform the most dangerous tasks, given less food and beaten in the hope that they will denounce their faith. Please pray that they can hold on steadfastly to Jesus and be strengthened by Him in a special way.
For protection upon those who carry out the vital work of bringing encouragement and aid to North Korean believers.