(CNSNews.com) – Communist North Korea is one of the most “hostile and repressive” regimes in the world when it comes to religious belief and practice, particularly for faiths associated with the Western world, such as Christianity, according to the 2018 report of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, which details the state of religious freedom around the world in 2017.
According to the report, the North Korean government views Western faiths and beliefs as a threat “and is known to arrest, torture, imprison, and even execute religious believers.”
The North Korean “regime associates Christianity with the West, particularly the United States,” the report said. The regime uses “robust surveillance” to identify secretly practicing Christians and imprison them and their families, even if their family is not religious.
“In May 2017, some Christian defectors informed USCIRF about their life in North Korea,” reads the report. “One defector explained that there is only one religion in North Korea: the worship of leader Kim Jong-un.”
Christians in North Korea are “tortured and killed on account of their religious affiliation,” states the report.
“According to the Database Center for North Korean Human Rights, individuals face persecution for propagating religion, possessing religious items, carrying out religious activities (including praying and singing hymns), and having contact with religious persons,” the report documented.
In addition, in North Korea religious groups cannot conduct religious activities unless the activities are through the handful of state-controlled houses of worship, the report said. There are currently three Protestant churches, one Catholic church and one Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church in North Korea.