March 2, 2003

Some 100,000 Christians are suffering as political prisoners, according to a recent report by Human Rights Watch (HRW). The report featured testimonies from escaped prisoners, defecting guards, and starving economic migrants who described horrific, inhumane conditions in prison camps and chronicled stories of escapes. A severe famine has gripped North Korea since 1994. Because of the food shortages, many North Koreans flee to China, but authorities from both countries track down refugees in the border area. When they are caught, they are deported back to North Korea, and those who have been in contact with Christians are forced to renounce Christianity and worship communist dictator Kim Il Sung, Open Doors said. "The treatment of prisoners in North Korea represents one of the worst abuses of human rights we have ever documented," said Mervyn Thomas, chief executive of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, which recently conducted interviews with 50 North Koreans in four different countries.

- Pulpit Helps,

March, 2003, p. 30.