ROC: the scale of persecution of Christians and other believers in North Korea is very serious

© AP Photo / Wong Maye-Budni North KoreaROC: the scale of persecution of Christians and other believers in North Korea is very serious© AP Photo / Wong Maye-E

North Korea is a «leading» position in the world for persecution against Christians and members of other religious denominations, with information on this matter is very little, said Thursday on a press-conferences head of sector for interreligious contacts of the Department for external Church relations (DECR) of the Moscow Patriarchate priest Dmitry Safonov.

According to the DECR in 2012, in Korea for about 70 thousand Christians were serving a sentence in 30 labour camps. Of the 24 million inhabitants of this country Christians are about 400 thousand, the overwhelming majority of them are Protestants of various denominations.

«All the statistical data, which provide a variety of major international human rights organisations such as Open Doors, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, North Korea tied for first place by the intensity of persecution. But unfortunately, even these organizations emphasize that very little information. We hardly know what is happening there,» said Dimitry Safonov for RIA Novosti.

However, he noted that in the case of North Korea is a special situation — we are talking about «the persecution of all dissent». «It’s not actually persecution against Christians as such, but against any idea that does not fit in: a totalitarian society destroys all dissent», — said the representative of the DECR. Speaking about the situation of Christians in the DPRK, he noted that the scale of persecution, «of course, very serious.»

The international organization for the protection of Christians from persecution Open Doors on the monitoring results for the year 2016 reported that among the most dangerous countries for Christians are Somalia, North Korea, Nigeria, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Sudan, the escalation of intolerance against Christians also exists in India. Human rights activists say that, for example, in Aleppo before the civil war in Syria in 2011, he lived more than 400 thousand Christians, and now they have less than 60 thousand.

According to Safonov, today, the intensity of the persecution of Christians in Syria and Iraq by militants of the banned terrorist organization ISIS «is somewhat lower than in previous years», but it «only because most Christians have either fled or was destroyed by extremists.» Currently, representatives of the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches are developing joint projects to study the situation of Christians in the middle East and other hot spots, said the priest.