Time to End North Korea “Genocide”
Image Credit: U.S. Navy

Time to End North Korea “Genocide”


Has North Korea violated the international norm known as the Responsibility to Protect to the point that intervention is warranted? I would argue the answer is an unequivocal “yes.”

Certainly, North Korea is believed to have committed acts that many would consider genocide, including executions and state-sanctioned murders, the systematic use of torture, state-induced mass starvation in political prison camps (and arguably elsewhere), forcible abortions and infanticide, and the forcible transfer and enslavement of children.

In 2007, Christian Solidarity Worldwide published a report based on seven years of research, and written by international lawyers, which concluded that there are indications of genocide taking place against religious groups in North Korea, specifically against Christians. Indeed, Christian watchdogs such as Open Doors and Release International rate North Korea as the world’s most egregious violator of religious rights. But North Korea’s policy towards its indigenous religious population extends far beyond “persecution” – religious believers and their families are being exterminated.

Before the rise of the Kim Il-sung, an estimated 25 percent to 30 percent of Pyongyang’s population was Christian. Today, all traces of this once-flourishing religious community and culture have been obliterated. Recognizing the inherent threat posed by faith to totalitarian rule and the Kim cult of personality, the North Korean regime has since its inception committed genocide against religious believers and their families.

There are many indications of the specific intent to destroy religious groups in North Korea. Harsh punishment is meted out to repatriated North Korean refugees who have had contact with missionaries and churches in China. Refugees, after being forcibly returned, are tortured and interrogated to discern whether they had any contact with religious groups. Those that confess to, or are suspected of, having met with missionaries in China or converting to Christianity are either killed or banished to concentration camps for life along with their entire families, including children, to three generations. Open Doors estimates between 50,000 and 70,000 Christians are imprisoned in North Korea’s concentration camps today.

These Christian human rights organizations believe that North Korean Christians who haven’t been publicly executed or killed through beatings or starvation in the prison camps have even in some instances been used as guinea pigs in chemical and biological weapon experiments – an allegation which is by no means new.

North Korean refugees, including former prison camp guards who played a role in these atrocities, have been speaking out in an attempt to get the international community to pay attention for over a decade, but to no avail. Hundreds of thousands of North Koreans have been forced to flee to China in order to survive famine and oppression. The majority of these refugees are women, many of whom have become victims of sex-trafficking or have been sold into forced marriages.  

North Korea also continues to systematically brutalize women and children through infanticide and forced abortions. The office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights has acknowledged officially North Korea’s “continued violation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of women, in particular the trafficking of women for prostitution or forced marriage, ethnically motivated forced abortions, including by labor inducing injection or natural delivery, as well as infanticide of children of repatriated mothers, including in police detention centers and labor training camps.”

Multiple reports over the last ten years have indicated that infanticide and forced abortions on ethnic grounds is taking place systematically in North Korea’s prisons. This practice corresponds with the country’s obsession with racial purity, and the intent to destroy racially “mixed” babies on ethnic grounds is clear and incontestable.

February 12, 2014 at 14:05

Robert, thank you so much for your hard work in bringing awareness to the issue of human rights in North Korea. Keep up the good work!

June 25, 2013 at 12:19

Biast much? Maybe the things the US does to suspected knowledgeables isn’t right. But at least our government is keeping people and 3 generations after them in labor and torture camps. Bringing up America’s treatment of suspected terrorists is completely irrelevant to the problem at hand.

May 6, 2013 at 17:51

North Korea… genocide??? The Diplomat's articles are getting more and more preposterous with each passing day! And people like Robert Park should be more worried about the crimes his own country is committing, in its global network of secret torture camps where innocent in their thousands are indefinitely held on mere suspicion (and sometimes not even that) without a charge, without a trial, and far beyond the reach of any law. The United States is also a country founded upon slavery and mass genocide, just ask the Native Americans and African Americans.

North Korea's crimes pale next to what the the "good guys" the Americans are guilty of. The Diplomat should never again publish Christian fundamentalist garbage like this if it cares even a tiny bit about its own credibility.

February 13, 2013 at 06:54

hi every one

Emmett Conrecode
February 10, 2013 at 07:52

North Korea is China's lap dog. When the UN forces almost reach the norther border and defeating the North Korea Army who intervened with "volunteers"? From that moment on it's all on China.

December 30, 2012 at 17:41

While we in the west sit by and avoid this situation it's because we are afraid of China once burnt twice shy,

Luke Nguyen
December 16, 2012 at 11:49

If China hands off North Korea, let Korean people North and South solve thier own problem peace is in thier hand. China always uses dirty money to play the political game to neibors. They used to suppored the Genecidal Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and now they use money again for Hunsen anti Khmer Rouge goverment for detroying solidary Asean about East Vietnam Sea issue. China tries to prove thier “Rise in peace” but seems very far to what they said anyway everyone knows how bully and agrorant even agressive Chinese is from mouth to hand…

average joe
December 15, 2012 at 17:53

stop pontifcating and abusing huge words without merit to no end, the justification on non sensation to your own base ends, meets without no sensifaction of your jusapaction . NO WHAT I'M SAYIN  DAWG

December 15, 2012 at 17:37

Using the least expenditure of effort, I will simply note that I disagree with the above post’s blanket condemnation of interventions and see what happens…..  WOW AFTER THIS STATEMENT [ I'M WILLING TO PASS THE GREY POUPON], AND GO  BACK TO WATCHING KEEPING UP WITH THE KARDASHIANS.!!!

December 14, 2012 at 07:02

These is no Korea issue of today without US. Lot of wars worldwide today have the shadow of US.

[...] turns out SFA , not too ignore their little genocide issue and their world’s lowest human rights ranking record but presently, the freak out is over [...]

November 19, 2012 at 02:31

Seriously, quit pontifcating on some regime. So called Christian traditions in Ireland cost somebody her life last week. Its time to stop the hypocrisy. Really!

August 5, 2012 at 19:16

It is really TRUE that North Korea have been Raping and Killing Christians and anyone who talks with a Christian are send to Concentration Camps with their families. Many Christians are been  placed next to a Concrete Walls and Shot Dead according to some former North Korean's Soldiers who fled to Australia with Photos that they themselves took for fun for their Album Collection at the time when they loved their so call "Dear Leader". Those former North Korean's Soldiers who run away to Australia has become "Whistle Blowers" just like former CIA's Agents who spend 18 years Torturing, Raping and Killing people in South American countries has become "Whistle Blowers". One thing I want to point out is that is not just North Korea the only country who are Committing Genocide against Christians because the South Korean country an Ally country of the United States of America has also for the last 60 years been sending Christians to Prison for refusing to join the Military. From time to time even South Korea has been Killing the Christians like it happen not long ago to 5 Christians who were forced against their own conscience to wear Military Uniform, then when they run away from the South Korean Military Base they were Shot Dead as "fugitive soldiers" for abandoning the Army that they did not want to join in the first place because they said that in the 10 Commandments of the Holy Bible say "You must not kill". The USA Government in a way are Supporting the South Korean Government to Commit Genocide against Christians just like North Korean are doing on their side, by they the USA keeping their mouth shut. Then the USA people ask themselves "Why does the world Hates America?". South Korea is not that "Innocent" like you may think, they Hate the Christians just like North Korea hates the Christians. Both the North Korea and South Korea needs to be Destroyed even if the USA likes to protect the South Korea. The day will come when the USA will have to make a choice, if they continue to protect the South Koreans then those 22,000 USA Soldiers who are in South Korea will be Punish with South Korea the country who are also Committing Genocide against Christians just like North Korea. 

friend in san francisco
April 13, 2012 at 16:39

Hi Robert, I am so very happy to see you are being used to spread the truth of what is taking place in North Korea. To read of the atrocities is terrible and heartbreaking. May it prompt the global community to speak out so that the waves of change begin to roll.
I haven’t heard from you in some time, but I am always your sister here in SF.

Godspeed and love you and the North Korean people!!

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