In support of our shared universal human rights, Responsible for Equality And Liberty (R.E.A.L.) urges those who care about human rights, dignity, equality, democracy, and freedom, including freedom of religion, to use the 70th anniversary of the Communist totalitarian oppression of North Korea -- as a renewed change to promote human rights and support for those suffering from this Communist oppression.
We urge human rights activists to use the Communist October 10 celebration of oppressing our fellow human beings in North Korea, not with our upraised fists, but with our outstretched hands in urging the people of North Korea to reject such dictatorial rule and reject the denial of their shared human rights with the rest of the world. For those people of faith, we urge you to pray for those who suffer from hunger, torture, despair, and violent death, and whose spirits have been crushed by the endless Communist totalitarian efforts to deny any freedom at all.
We urge you to support human rights coalitions and groups, such as the North Korea Freedom Coalition (NKFC), which we have promoted since 2010, and other groups, including the Korean Church Coalition (KCC), the International Coalition to Stop Crimes against Humanity in North Korea (ICNK) and NGOs Open Doors and the Jubilee Foundation. R.E.A.L. will continue to report on the human rights violations of Communist North Korea and its crimes against humanity.
On October 10, 2015, the Communist totalitarian government of North Korea will celebrate "Party Foundation Day," which allegedly celebrates the 1945 founding of the "Workers' Party of Korea" (WPK), which is the ruling political party in the so-called "Democratic People's Republic of Korea" (DPRK aka North Korea). It is also the ONLY political party in the Communist totalitarian nation.
In fact, the celebration is actually of the October 13, 1945 founding of the North Korean Bureau of the Communist Party of Korea (NKB–CPK) (also known as the Central Organizing Committee of the Communist Party of North Korea), which over time evolved to become called the Worker's Party of North Korea, and then the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), with a goal of Communist unification of both North and South Korea under its Communist dictatorship.
North Korea's Communist Dictator Builds Missiles to Threaten the World, while North Korean People Suffer and StarveNorth Korea's Communist Dictator Builds Missiles to Threaten the World, while North Korean People Suffer and Starve
The challenge we face is the need to reject the falsehoods spread by those who claim that they are providing "socialist" or "workers" rights, even that they are promoting "democratic" values by denying freedom, denying human rights, and denying democracy. The falsehood that the WPK was for "worker's rights" is shown by the dictatorship in North Korea and other Communist nations. In such Communist totalitarian nations, the dictators argue that the workers must be "led" by party "chairman," or in the case of Communist North Korea, the workers must have a "Great Leader," which have been the dictatorial "Eternal General Secretary." The North Korean government was ruled first by dictator Kim Tu-bong (1946-1957), then by dictator Kim Il-sung (1957-1980), then by dictator Kim Jong-il (1980–2011) who was succeeded by his son Kim Jong-un in early 2011, who is the current Communist dictator of North Korea.
The consequences of the North Korea's Communist dictatorship has been the destruction of human lives, human rights, human freedoms, and freedom of religion. The support of our Universal Human Rights must include our support for inherent human dignity of our fellow human beings. But without democracy, human rights, and freedom, there really is no opportunity for human dignity.
The heroic leader of the North Korea Freedom Coalition (NKFC), Suzanne Scholte, told us in 2009 on Human Rights Day (December 10) when NKFC issued a report showing how North Korea rejected the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHF): "When the General Assembly of the United Nation’s adopted this Declaration on December 10, 1948, it cited in the preamble that ‘disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind. This statement is certainly descriptive of what is happening in North Korea every day, and we hope by releasing this report on how North Korea fares under the 30 Articles of this Universal Declaration that it will outrage the conscience of mankind to press for human rights for the citizens of North Korea."
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) states in its 2015 report that "North Korea remains one of the most oppressive regimes in the world and among the worst violators of human rights. The government tightly controls all political and religious expression and activities, and it punishes those who question the regime." The North Korea Freedom Coalition reports that: "North Koreans lack almost every human right. The government regulates speech, opinion, thought, press, information, employment, movement, location of residence, food rations, assembly, association, religion, and even the right to life." We have seen the vicious public executions of North Koreans, some for offenses as minor as watching South Korean movies or possessing a Bible.
It has been estimated that 3 million North Koreans have died under North Korea's brutal dictatorial regime since the mid-1990s. The North Korean Communist government withholds food rations to entire regions to starve families to death. The vast majority of North Korean citizens who live outside of Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, continue to suffer from hunger and malnutrition. The North Korea Freedom Coalition also reports that: "The international community became aware of food shortages in North Korea in 1991. It is reported by 1997, only 6% of the population was receiving food through the Public Distribution System (PDS). North Korea continues to rely heavily on international food aid, however, there are doubts that some of the food aid is reaching those in desperate need. Children suffer the worst, particularly orphans. In 2003, it was reported that 42% of North Korean children suffer from chronic malnutrition, resulting in drastic height and weight differences with children from the South."
In April 2012, the Tokyo Shimbun newspaper reported that "from December 2011 until April 2012, twenty thousand people have starved to death in South Hwanghae Province," which is about ten percent of the area’s population. The article also states that "in some regions, over one thousand people starved to death in one day."
The Communist North Korean government regularly detains, tortures, and executes its citizens, including children. The North Korean government maintains a series of forced-labor prison camps, including remote political prison camps (Kwalliso). It is estimated by The International Coalition to Stop Crimes against Humanity in North Korea (ICNK) that more than 10,000 people die in the prison camps every year. According to U.S. News & World Report, more than 400,000 people have perished in the camps in the last forty years. There are more than 200,000 North Koreans incarcerated, including children, who face torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. Prisoners are forced to work in slave-like conditions and many prisoners die in the camps because of starvation, lack of medical care, abuse by guards, and unhygienic living conditions. Prisoners are refused trials.
The North Korea Freedom Coalition reports that: "Prisoners are brutally treated in these institutions with testimonies from North Korean defectors describing the application of torture techniques, hard labor, starvation, forced abortions, infanticide, families of up to three generations imprisoned, detention without judicial process, public executions, chemical and medical experimentation on prisoners, and gas chambers, resulting in thousands of deaths."
As Lamont Colucci reports on the Communist North Korean concentration camps, "their names, like Auschwitz, and Cabanatuan, should resonate with everyone, but do not. These camps, with names like Kaechon, Yodok, Pukchang, and Hoeryong, should inspire revulsion, disgust, and condemnation. These are places where torture, infanticide, starvation, and executions are daily occurrences. In an effort to outdo his Maoist and Leninist forebears, the Kim dynasty created a camp system whereby the so-called offender is not the only one condemned, not even the immediate family, but often the generation above and below. It is therefore common for those labeled with that totalitarian catch-all favorite of the Soviets and the Chinese, 'enemies of the state,' to be small children and elderly grandparents. The existence of these camps is unacceptable to anyone whose faith in God, and whose belief in human rights and human liberty exist in any way, shape, or form."
Last year, a 2014 report was issued by the U.N. Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry (COI) on such Communist concentration camps and crimes against humanity, including the testimony of 80 witnesses of Communist North Korean atrocities. The United Nations report describes families being murdered, mothers, children being killed. One witness told them: "In front of all the inmates, political prisoners, and in front of my father and myself, my mother and older brother were publicly executed." "“My mother was hanged in front of me and my father."
The U.N. COI reported on the witness of "Jee Heon A, a victim of forced repatriation and forced abortion in DPRK, recalls a rare moment when a baby was born in the detention center in the city of Chongjin of Hamgyong Province. The joyous moment took a tragic turn when a security agent told the new mother that she must drown her own child. The mother pleaded for her baby’s life. 'But this agent kept beating this woman, the mother who just gave birth,' Jee Heon A said. 'And the mother, with her shaking hands, picked up the baby and put the baby face down in the water. The baby stopped crying and we saw water bubbles coming out of the mouth of the baby.'"
In addition, the U.N. COI conducted confidential interviews with over 240 witnesses who did not appear in public for fear of reprisals. The U.N. states that the "unprecedented report of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the DPRK documents in great detail the wide-ranging array of crimes against humanity being committed in the country. The report was presented to the UN Human Rights Council’s 25th Session in Geneva, Switzerland. 'The gravity, scale and nature of these violations reveal a State that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world,' the report states."
The detailed U.N. COI report is found at "Report of the detailed findings of the commission of inquiry on human rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea - A/HRC/25/CRP.1." The chairman of the report, Judge Michael Kirby, wrote a letter directed at the dictator of North Korea informing him that the report would recommend referral of this evidence to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Religious freedom is denied in Communist North Korea. North Korea is officially an atheist state, consistent with the Communist ideology. The Communist North Korean government policy is to deny the individual's ability to choose and to manifest his or her religious belief. The Communist regime oppresses the religious activities of unauthorized religious groups. The U.N. COI report states that "The State considers the spread of Christianity a particularly serious threat…People caught practicing Christianity are subject to severe punishments in violation of the right to freedom of religion."
The USCIRF 2015 report on North Korea states that "Genuine freedom of religion or belief is non-existent. Individuals secretly engaging in religious activities are subject to arrest, torture, imprisonment, and sometimes execution. North Koreans suspected of contacts with South Koreans or with foreign missionaries, particularly in China, or caught possessing Bibles, reportedly have been executed. While it is challenging to document the full scope and scale of the government’s repression of religious freedom, growing information available through firsthand accounts from defectors and refugees makes it clear that the violations taking place are systematic, ongoing, and egregious. Thus, USCIRF again recommends in 2015 that North
Korea be designated a 'country of particular concern,' or CPC, under the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA). The State Department has designated North Korea a CPC since 2001, most recently in July 2014. North Korea has long maintained absolute control through systematic repression and the cultivation of widespread political fear. The government indoctrinates its people with the Juche ideology, the Kim family cult of personality, which requires absolute obedience to the Kim family and to the overall state. This pseudo-religious, socialist mentality suppresses the expression of individualized thought, belief, and behavior. North Korea has traditions of Buddhism and Confucianism, and before the Korean War had a sizable Christian population, earning Pyongyang the nickname 'the Jerusalem of Asia.'"
It is currently estimated that more than 50,000 Christians are locked inside concentration camps because of their faith, where they are systematically subjugated to horrible treatment such as unrestrained torture, mass-starvation and even imprisonment and death by asphyxiation in gas chambers. This entails that a staggering 20% of the Christian community in North Korea live in concentration camps. The number of Christians being murdered for their faith seems to be increasing as times goes by because in 2013 the death toll was 1,200 and in 2014, this figure doubled rendering it to close to 2,400 martyred Christians.
The NGO Open Doors maintains Communist North Korea as the leading oppressor of Christians and "North Korea is ranked No. 1 on the World Watch List of the 50 countries where persecution is most extreme." Open Doors states the "god-like worship of the leader, Kim Jong-Un, and his predecessors leaves little room for any other religions and Christians face unimaginable pressure in every sphere of life. Meeting with other Christians is virtually impossible. Anyone discovered engaging in unauthorized religious activity is subject to arrest, arbitrary detention, disappearance, torture and/or execution. Those Christians who attempt to return to North Korea from China are sentenced to life in prison or executed. Leader Kim Jong-Un purged 10,000 North Koreans last year, including some Christians."
Human rights groups have also sought to get the U.S. government to pass bills to enforce stricter sanctions on North Korea, such as H.R. 1771, which did not pass the U.S. Senate, and which has been replaced by a new House Bill H.R. 757 in 2015. The motivation is clearly not yet there to get this completed by the current government leaders, and we must urge Americans in human rights to urge their representatives to take a leadership role on this.
Responsible for Equality And Liberty (R.E.A.L.) urges those reading this to use the Communist North Korean "holiday" of October 10 not just as a remembrance of their success in oppressing our fellow human beings, but also as an opportunity to reach out to those oppressed by such Communist dictators and work for their freedom and liberation from tyranny, including those whose freedom of speech and conscience are denied.
As founder of R.E.A.L., I am grateful to have had opportunities to contribute to the great work of the NKFC and other human rights activists for those suffering in North Korea. One of the most inspirational moments in my life was the opportunity to join a prayer rally at a Korean Christian church in Northern Virginia to pray for strength and liberation of the oppressed people of North Korea. To people of faith, I urge you to use October 10, not just as a grim reminder, but also as an opportunity to pray united for those who have no freedom of religion, who have freedom of speech, and who know right for such free prayer together.
As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, the "arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice." Amidst the darkest night of injustice, dictatorship, oppression, persecution, and crimes against humanity in Communist North Korea, let our voices of human rights, and confidence that moral justice and freedom will ultimately prevail provide a light to other brothers and sisters across the seas.