North Korea: Religious Freedom

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered on 11th January 2021.

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Photo of Carla Lockhart Carla Lockhart DUP, Upper Bann

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what additional steps his Department is taking to protect freedom of religious belief in North Korea.

Photo of Nigel Adams Nigel Adams Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The UK continues to have strong concerns about the lack of freedom of religion or belief in North Korea. We continue to urge North Korea to uphold its human rights obligations and engage substantively with the international community on this issue. We regularly raise our concerns directly with the North Korean authorities and at the UN, including through the Human Rights Council and, most recently, in the Security Council in December 2020.

Defending the right to freedom of religion or belief for all is a priority for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. For example, the UK Government remains committed to implementing the recommendations from the Bishop of Truro's independent Review on persecuted Christians in full. 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 2020 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. We have already designated two entities involved in administering the North Korean penal system.

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