The U.S. State Department in a report Tuesday slammed North Korea for brutally restricting religious freedom. "Persons engaged in proselytizing or who had ties to overseas evangelical groups operating across the border in China, have been arrested and subjected to harsh punishment," the State Department says in its 2010 International Religious Freedom Report.
The report relies on testimony from NGOs, refugees, defectors, and missionaries.
The North Korean "constitution and other laws and policies protect religious freedom; however, in practice the government severely restricted religious activity, except that which was supervised tightly by officially recognized groups linked to the government. Genuine religious freedom does not exist," the report says.
It notes that a South Korean NGO “reported 23 Christians were arrested in May 2010 for belonging to an underground church in Kuwol-dong, Pyongsong City, South Pyongan Province. Reportedly three were executed, and the others were sent to Yoduk political prison camp."