UN 'must respond' to human rights abuses in North Korea

Christian Solidarity Worldwide has welcomed a debate in the House of Lords on Monday on the security and humanitarian situation in North Korea.

Concerns were raised about North Korea's poor human rights record, including the systematic persecution of Christians and other abuses of religious freedom.

The debate was introduced by Lord Alton of Liverpool, Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on North Korea.

He said evidence given to the committee included accounts of executions, forced labour, torture, and a "guilt by association" policy leading to the arrest, imprisonment and punishment of family members.

The committee has heard how women pregnant to Chinese men have faced forced abortion or infanticide following deportation from China.

Baroness Cox of Queensbury, vice-chairman of the committee, called for a UN Commission of Inquiry into human rights abuses in North Korea.

The debate follows reports of the death of two Christians in the reclusive communist country.

CSW, which supports persecuted Christians, described North Korea was "one of the darkest, most oppressed, most dangerous and most closed corners of the world".

Andrew Johnston, advocacy director at Christian Solidarity Worldwide, welcomed the debate for raising awareness of the situation.

He said: "We believe the time has come for the UN to respond and for the United Kingdom and other European Union member states to take the lead in ensuring that this long overdue inquiry takes place, and the perpetrators of crimes against humanity in North Korea are held accountable."