|12/20/2000: Commission Issues Recommendations on Religious Freedom in North Korea|
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom wrote the President, Secretary of State, and congressional leaders December 18 with recommendations for promoting religious freedom in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea). The Commission wrote that "U.S. policy ... should reflect America's concern for religious freedom in a country ruled by one of the world's worst violators of religious freedom."
"In the DPRK ... it is apparent that religious freedom is non-existent," the Commission said. "The government has imprisoned religious believers and apparently suppresses all organized religious activity except that which serves the interest of the state." The Commission noted reports of torture and execution of religious believers, including between 12 and 23 Christians on account of their religion.
The past year has seen significant developments in U.S.-North Korean relations, including Secretary of State Albright's historic visit and the possibility that President Clinton may yet travel there. But U.S. policy has thus far focused primarily on the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and missile technology, and on peace on the Korean Peninsula. The Commission urged that the U.S. also place "significant emphasis" on religious freedom in North Korea and recommended that the U.S.:
The full text of the Commission's letter is available on the Commission's Web site, www.uscirf.gov. It can also be obtained by calling (202) 523-3240, ext. 34.