Relaymedia

Religious Leaders Call for North Korea Freedom

( [email protected] ) Apr 30, 2004 12:22 PM EDT

The North Korea regime, which is a combination of communist state and personality cult, is considered by many experts on human and religious rights as the most oppressive in the world. According to human rights specialists, North Korea’s crimes against humanity include:

-- At least 200,000 political prisoners in the country’s gulag system.

-- About 400,000 deaths in the gulags during the last three decades.

-- Torture, biological testing, public executions and forced abortions on gulag prisoners.

-- More than 4 million deaths from starvation since 1995, though North Korea is the world’s leading recipient of food assistance. Food aid reportedly is diverted to the military or sold on the black market.

-- Lack of any religious freedom.

"North Korea is ground zero for some of the world’s worst human rights abuses,” Nina Shea, vice chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, told rally participants.

John Hanford, the State Department’s ambassador at large for religious freedom, said, "Religious freedom is not just severely violated in North Korea. It does not exist at all.”

The Southern Baptist religious liberty specialist Richard Land called for "a complete cessation of all aid to North Korea by the United States until the fair distribution of that aid can be monitored and assured. I for one am not interested in trading the lives of millions of North Koreans for a worthless commitment by Kim Jong Il to dismantle his nuclear weapons. We should not allow this gangster dictator to hold his nuclear missiles over our heads in order to extort our continued support for his poisonous regime."

"Kim Jong Il, free your people, feed your people, care for your people, and the world will rush to your aid. Until then, we cannot, we must not, we will not enrich you further while your people starve and suffer,” said Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.