North Korea is located on the northern region of the Korean Peninsula between China and South Korea. Historically, the
major religions in North Korea have been Buddhism and Confucianism, and there are now some Christian and syncretic
Chondogyo faith groups. North Korea is officially known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Japan ruled North Korea for 35 years, beginning in 1910. In 1945, Korea was divided into North and South. Communism
became the governing ideology in 1948 when a socialist regime acquired power. Since then, the border between North and
South Korea has become the most fortified border in the world. A vast number of the population has been starving to
death since 1994 due natural disasters and the agricultural situation there. The current leader, Kim Jong Il,
succeeded his father, Kim Il Sung, who died in 1994. According to reports, North Korea holds more political and
and religious prisoners than any other country, and it is said that “there is no more serious crime in North Korea
than being a Christian.”
The Constitution of North Korea guarantees religious freedom. However, the freedom of religion was restricted to religious
groups recognized and controlled by the government, and was later amended to become the freedom of antireligious activity.
Using religion to involve foreign governments or officials in the affairs of the country is forbidden. Juche, a religion
based on the worship of Kim Jong-Il, is used as the justification for the continuous rule of the government. Denial or
disbelief in the supreme authority of Kim Jong-Il is considered a threat to the nation’s interest and is punished
with torture and death. Religious prisoners are subject to abuse and cruelty in prison camps.
Religious gatherings are theoretically permitted, and faith based groups technically have the right to build places
of worship. Programs for
religious studies are available at the Kim Il Sung University. Religious entities are generally used for
propagating government messages and are meant for tourism and foreigners.
Members of religious groups that are not controlled by the government are seen and publicized as less than human.
Those who are arrested, for speaking about God or reading the Bible, are subject to chemical and biological
experiments or other forms of torture.
International Treaties Signed by North Korea
The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
The Convention on the Rights of the Child
Canada-North Korea Diplomatic Relations
(Ambassador to China is responsible for North Korea)
For prayer requests, see the alerts, or the general page of prayer for the Persecuted
General information about North Korea
Information about human rights in North Korea
Information about the persecuted Church in North Korea (from the Voice of the Martyrs Canada)
Related EFC Religious Liberty Commission Alerts
Note: Alerts are in reverse chronological order, beginning with most recent.
Prayer Alert: Praying for North Korea – Opportunity for Change? Or Intensified Persecution?
With the December 17, 2011 death of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-il, it is uncertain what succession will mean to Christians in the communist dictatorial country. The cruelty toward Christians during Kim Jong-il’s reign, has established him among the most ruthless persecutors of Christians in recent history. Little is known about 27 ... read more.
Day of Prayer for North Korea Sunday, June 29
In North Korea today, being a Christian is considered treason and worship of leader Kim Jong Il is the law. Next week, join Christians around the world as they pray for the Church in North Korea.
Christians imprisoned as North Koreans are told they are only allowed to worship Kim Jung-II.
(Source: World Evangelical Fellowship)
Christianity is not welcomed in North Korea. Earlier this year, Kim Jung-Il, the supreme national leader, commanded absolute worship of himself. Rallies were held throughout the nation to reinforce this command. It is estimated that 100,000 Christians are imprisoned for their faith in North Korea's gulags. Pray for the light of Jesus in the North Korean gulags this Christmas.
• Pray for the Christians in North Korea who are celebrating this Christmas in secret.