US congressman condemns 'horrendous' rights abuses in North Korea

Under the leadership of Kim Jong Un, North Korea is widely considered to be the worst country in which to be a Christian.Reuters

A senior US politician has joined a church rally in Washington, DC to protest against the abuse of Christians and other dissidents in North Korea.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) took part in the Korean Church Coalition's annual rally for North Korean freedom.

The Congressman said: "We know that for ordinary North Koreans there is no right to freedom of religion, [to] assemble, to petition their government. But what is so horrendous, is what happens to the 120,000 who have been arrested and put in these work camps, sometimes for three generations. The back-breaking work, the way they are beaten if they so much as smile..."

North Korea has consistently been named as one of the toughest places in the world to be a Christian, topping Open Doors' World Watch List on several occasions.

Royce claims his committee and the State Department is doing what it can to oppose the North Korean dictatorship. "We put sanctions against the regime, but more importantly, we personally put those sanctions against Kim Jong Un and those sanctions against those in his inner circle to ostracise them," he said. "Today we are broadcasting into North Korea and using the internet to tell people about the human rights abuses, to give them the truth, the facts about what's happening in North Korea."

Addressing the gathering of Christians he said: "As we continue our efforts, I would just close by saying all of you have done the most responsible of things by having your voice speak out on behalf of the voiceless. Thank you for what you do to protect religious freedom."