Stances harden on North Korea’s nuclear hopes; ministry spotlights human rights

By March 27, 2008

North Korea (MNN) — A Summit is
underway this week with several countries working on North Korea's nuclear

Advocacy Coordinator for Open
Doors USA
Lindsay Vessey says it would be nice to think the talks would have
impact on the rights issues. However,
"The six-party talks are focusing on the nuclear issue and have
basically ignored the bigger issue of the human rights abuses. If they would
tackle the human rights abuses first, I think they would make more progress on
the nuclear issue."

Six-nation nuclear talks are
deadlocked right now over whether a full declaration of North Korean nuclear
programs were disclosed. 

The North Korea Freedom Week is
slated to begin April 26 and end May 3 in Washington, D.C.  Open Doors is one of the coalition members
involved because of the severe persecution of Christians in the rogue

The ministry issues an annual "World Watch List" which lists the top 50 of the world's worst persecutors of
Christians. North
Korea is again on the top of the list for the sixth year in a row. 

Open Door's local
source estimates the number of underground Christians to be at least 200,000,
and it's likely that there are as many as 400,000 to half-a-million believers. At least a quarter of the Christians are
imprisoned for their faith in political prison camps, from which people rarely
get out of alive. Raids are made regularly, both in North Korea and China, to
arrest refugees and those helping them.

Because of China's influence over
North Korea, "We're hoping that by having the protests in front of
the Chinese embassies and consulates, we will be able to draw attention to
the human rights abuses, the religious rights abuses, and we hope that will apply
pressure to the Chinese government."

This could be an effective pressure
point. As Beijing prepares its public
face, it has taken great pains to polish its public relations image. 

So far though, the government has stepped up
its repatriation of North Korean refugees in an effort to eradicate them before
the end of the year. Their action is a violation of international law and
the treaties to which it is a signatory. 

China has been known to jail humanitarian
workers, many of whom are Christians, who try to help refugees. They also have refused the U.N. High Commission
for Refugees access to the North Korean asylum seekers and blocked the
refugees from seeking resettlement in countries willing to resettle them.

Open Doors USA and the North
Korea Freedom Coalition
are asking for your participation in North Korea
Freedom Week (NKFW). 


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