UK Government cites listing of North Korea as the country where “Christians face the most extreme persecution and has done so for the past 17 years,” welcomes Korea Future Initiative, and says it can use its new Global Human Rights sanctions regime against those responsible for persecution on grounds of religion or belief.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL9806):
Question by Lord Alton of Liverpool:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made (1) of reports of persecution based on religion or belief in North Korea, and (2) the report by Korea Future Initiative Persecuting Faith: Documenting religious freedom violations in North Korea, published in October; and what plans they have to impose sanctions on those responsible for any such persecution in line with the recommendations made in the Bishop of Truro’s independent review for the Foreign Secretary of FCO support for persecuted Christians, published in July 2019. (HL9806)
Tabled on: 02 November 2020
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon:
The UK continues to have strong concerns about the lack of Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) in North Korea. Religious and human rights groups outside the country report that those conducting religious activities outside state-sanctioned religious groups face severe punishment including arrest, beatings and imprisonment in political prison camps. North Korea sits at the top of Open Doors’ World Watch List of countries where Christians face the most extreme persecution and has done so for the past 17 years. We continue to urge North Korea to uphold its human rights obligations and engage substantively with the international community on this issue, including on freedom of religion or belief.
Defending the right to FoRB for all is a priority for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. We welcome the Korea Future Initiative’s new report as another step towards ensuring that human rights violations in North Korea are documented for accountability and deterrence purposes. The UK Government remains committed to implementing the recommendations from the Bishop of Truro’s independent Review on persecuted Christians in full. Of the recommendations, 18 have already been, or are in the process of being, implemented. One of those recommendations related to the establishment of the UK’s Global Human Rights sanctions regime. This regime came into effect on 6 July and allows us to designate those who commit serious human rights abuses or violations, including those who target individuals on the grounds of their religion or belief. We take decisions about whether particular individuals or entities could be subject to measures under the regime on a case-by-case basis.
Date and time of answer: 16 Nov 2020 at 12:10.