Human Rights and Religious Freedom Should Be on the North Korea Agenda for Any Trump – Kim Summit

Press Release

06/01/2018 Washington, D.C. (Religious Freedom Institute) — As a high-profile drama unfolds around a possible summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un, American leaders are urging the President to include human rights and religious freedom on the agenda.

More than fifty foreign policy professionals, human rights advocates, and Christian, Hindu, Jewish, and Muslim religious leaders sent a letter to President Trump urging him to incorporate human rights in general, and religious freedom in particular, into America’s summit strategy.

The leaders included Katrina Lantos Swett, Elliott Abrams, Winston Lord, Robert George, Archbishop William Lori, Rabbi David Novak, and Sheikh Hamza Yusuf.

The letter praised President Trump for his efforts to secure the release of three American citizens held by the Kim regime, but pressed him to address other human rights abuses:

“We also implore you to recognize that there are tens of thousands of other men, women, and even children– most of them North Korean citizens and many of them Christians – being brutalized by Kim and his regime. For decades, North Korea has been in effect a national torture chamber. There is nowhere on earth more dangerous for dissenters of conscience, especially those who believe in God.”

The State Department’s 2017 International Religious Freedom Report  estimates 80,000 – 120,000 human beings are held in horrific conditions in North Korea prison camps. The regime deals with virtually anyone found engaging in religious practice by arrest, torture, or execution.

The letter recommended steps to include in negotiations with the Kim regime, including access to all prisons by the International Red Cross and the UN; full access to the country by the U.S. Ambassador for International Religious Freedom, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, and the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in North Korea; and the setting of quotas for voluntary immigration by released prisoners and their families.

“As President Trump seeks the denuclearization of one of history’s most dangerous regimes, we urge him not to miss the associated opportunity to address a humanitarian tragedy of such profound and terrible proportions,” said Tom Farr, President of the Religious Freedom Institute and a principle author of the letter.

Read the Full Letter: Letter to President Trump on Human Rights and North Korea

Media Contact:
Jeremy P. Barker

The Religious Freedom Institute (RFI) works to secure religious freedom for everyone, everywhere. The RFI is a non-profit, non-partisan organization based in Washington, D.C.