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North Korea: Many imprisoned Christian women suffer sexual violence

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has recently released its 2018 Annual Report, which documents violations of religious freedom around the world, and makes recommendations to the U.S. government on how this fundamental freedom can be more effectively protected worldwide. The USCIRF included North Korea among its Tier 1 violators — that is, “countries of particular concern,” where religious freedom violations are systematic, ongoing, and egregious. Sexual violence is one aspect of that persecution that Christian women, especially those who have been imprisoned for their faith, must endure. Please pray that Almighty God would have mercy upon the Christians of North Korea, and that part of the steps that nation is taking toward opening to the world will include granting Christians an end to persecution, full rights, and religious freedom.

“Rampant Sexual Violence of Women in North Korea,” International Christian Concern, November 4, 2018:

11/4/2018 North Korea (International Christian Concern) – In North Korea, sexual violence has become so widespread and common that it being accepted by society as an ordinary part of life. On Wednesday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released interviews conducted with women from North Korea who have fled to South Korea for safety concerning the issue of sexual violence in North Korea.

Victims accounted firsthand how men in power use their positions as government officials, prison guards, interrogators, police, solders, and prosecutors to coerce women into unwanted sexual contact. Victims explained how powerful men would force women to engage in sexual behaviors with them or face a slew of harsh consequences.

The number of women who have experienced sexual violence is unknown, since many victims do not report their cases, knowing the North Korean government will not do anything about it….

This reality remains true for many Christian believers imprisoned in North Korea today. In a study conducted on sexual violence within the prison system 37.7% said it is a common occurrence, with 15.9 saying it was a very common experience. In one prison 33 women claimed they were raped, 51 said that they witnessed a rape, and 25 said they heard women being raped.

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