North Korea (ODUSA/MNN) — While North Korea protests innocent motivation behind its
long-range rocket launch, the people of North Korea are living a different
Jerry Dykstra with
Open Doors says the global public face is different
from the one seen inside North Korea's walls.
"Based on our field reports from Open Doors, there's a war-like buildup
by the government."
These same reports suggest that officials have ordered citizens to
gather 15 days' worth of war provisions. Even young students are being forced to
transport ammunition boxes.
"What is forgotten in all of the controversy surrounding the rocket
launch is the treatment of the suffering people inside North Korea and the
horrendous human rights record of Kim Jong-Il," says Open Doors USA
President/CEO Dr. Carl Moeller. "The litany of abuses is well-documented:
forced labor, political prisoners tortured in prison camps, sexl trafficking.
And the abuses are increasing while the
government sets its sights on developing a nuclear program."
All the while, people are dying from starvation.
According to the World Food Program, North Korea is one of the poorest
countries in the world with about 9 million needing urgent food assistance.
However, last month the North Korean government refused to accept future U.S.
food and expelled five aid groups.
Vita Muntarbhorn, a U.N. human rights investigator,
told the U.N. Human Rights Council last month that life inside North Korea is
"dire and desperate" and prisons are like "death traps," according to the
Last month North Korea was re-designated by the U.S. State
Department as one of eight "Countries of Particular Concern" because of their severe
religious freedom violations. Open Doors' World Watch List has ranked North
Korea as the No. 1 persecutor of Christians for seven years in a row.
It was against this negative backdrop that North Korea proceeded
with its missile launch. More than a
defiant show of strength, it was a message. "I think it's a message sent out by their leader Kim Jong-Il. There
were reports of him being sick. This is a signal that he is still in power, and
I think it's a signal not only to the people outside of the country, but also
to the people inside of the country that nothing has changed."
though Christians have borne the weight of increasing persecution, the church is
still growing. However, starvation and isolation keep the people docile.
The last week in April is North Korea Freedom Week, a time to advocate for the
believers living in these oppressive circumstances. "It's tougher for Christians there
because they meet in house churches, and they're under more scrutiny."
Moeller says, "I urge you to get involved in North Korea Freedom
Week April 26-May 2. Be a voice for the voiceless. Through contacting your
members of Congress, attending the protest and rally in Washington, D.C., and
the power of prayer, you can make an impact."
North Korea Freedom Week is devoted to raising awareness of the
plight of North Koreans and the massive human rights and religious rights
abuses by the government. It is sponsored by the North Korea Freedom
Coalition (NKFC), which consists of approximately 60 organizations including
Open Doors USA.
Included in the events, focused in Washington, D.C., is a Capitol
Hill Rally for North Korea Freedom and Human Rights at noon on Tuesday, April
28, and lobbying of members of Congress after the rally. At noon, Saturday, May
2, there will be a protest at the Chinese Embassy against China's violent
treatment of North Korean refugees. For the complete schedule, go to www.nkfreedom.org. Open Doors USA will have
updated information on its Website at www.OpenDoorsUSA.org
later this week.