A Week to Remember the Suffering

By April 26, 2007

USA (MNN) — Open Doors USA is one of several non-profit organizations from around the world participating in North Korea Freedom Week in Washington, D.C. this week.    

As members of the North Korea Freedom Coalition, their aim is to make the world aware of the tragedy of the dictatorship of North Korea. They want to "focus the world's attention on the brutal treatment of people in North Korea and the repressive regime there. [We want] to try and bring about action that will relieve their suffering and bring about some light into this very dark place," said Carl Moeller, president of Open Doors USA.

With Kim Jong-Il as dictator, North Korea is a horrible regime, "causing its people to starve and have just in every way life like a prison camp," said Moeller. There are hundreds of thousands of Christians in labor camps. Also, 42% of North Korean children suffer from malnutrition and have almost no basic human rights. 

These conditions cause many to flee to China. "China is a prop for North Korea. China is enabling North Korea to exist," said Moeller. China does not give political and religious refugees asylum as they should. "Instead, when they discover North Korean refugees, China repatriates them back to North Korea directly. That is a literal death sentence for 99% of all those who are repatriated," said Moeller.

So far, China has felt the heat under the public eye because of the upcoming Olympics. "We judge sometimes the effectiveness of our work by the increased difficulty of some of the things that are happening with our field workers. We're getting reports that [the Chinese] are taking this seriously. They don't want to be embarrassed in front of the world, and we believe its going to make a difference for this policy," said Moeller.

Several events are planned in Washington. The North Korea Genocide Exhibit has been running Monday through Thursday at Ebenezer's coffeehouse. Other activities included a panel on Monday calling the UN to act on the situation, a panel on Tuesday to discuss the fear of North Korea's collapse, and a congressional hearing on Wednesday concerning China's treatment of North Korean refugees. 

Today a panel on religious persecution is being held from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the National Press Club by Open Doors. 

Friday, a special prayer service will be held at The Falls Church in Falls Church, Virginia. "North Koreans have asked us to pray and to speak out on their behalf, so that's what we're doing. We're mobilizing prayer," said Moeller. "We also have a three-year prayer campaign that's going amazingly well around the world where we've blanketed the world with prayer for North Korea: 10 minutes a week for 365 days, 3 years in a row."

"They are encouraged when they know that people are praying for them, that they're not forgotten, and that they're being lifted up in those contexts of politics and prayer so that freedom can come their way," said Moeller.

In addition to prayer, we must go beyond politics to the issue of human rights. "I think the issues of human rights [and] human dignity have to be dealt with along with economic, military and political discussions with North Korea," said Moeller.  "I don't want to be part of an effort politically that makes an agreement with North Korea and ignores the fact that millions are dying."

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