There have been some signs that North Korea, long held to be impervious to outside pressure, could be more vulnerable than was thought. A North Korean official recently agreed in principle to allow the British Foreign Office minister responsible for human rights to visit the country?and the British official is, he says, pushing for ?unfettered access? to North Korea?s notorious prison camps.
The success of the North Korea Human Rights Act is a tribute to the compassion and persistence of evangelical and Jewish groups who pushed hard to get it passed. Human rights activist Michael Horowitz told Christianity Today, ?It was the evangelical passion in the Wilberforce spirit that was the powerful animating force, the energizing force, around this issue. And once again, teaming very particularly with some key representatives in the Jewish community that was ultimately an irresistible combination.?
There are so many human-rights crises going on around the world that sometimes it?s overwhelming. We can easily get the feeling that there?s nothing much we can do to help the oppressed. But this new law proves that isn?t true; prayer and action really can make a difference. We need to let this victory inspire us to even greater efforts to defend the rights of the persecuted.
For further reading and information:
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Please mark your calendar for Wednesday, December 22, 2004, at 11:00 a.m. for protests being held around the United States and all over the world at all Chinese embassies and consulate offices to protest Chinese repatriations of North Korean refugees. (Those of us in the Washington, D.C., area, including North Korea Freedom Coalition, Wilberforce Forum, Defense Forum Foundation, and many others will be organizing a protest to be held in front of the Chinese embassy on 2300 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 at 11:00 a.m.) Learn more here (scroll down).
?North Korea Human Rights Act?A Celebration ,? Wilberforce Forum, 16 November 2004.
Stan Guthrie, ? North Korea Human Rights Act a ?Miracle,? ? interview with Michael Horowitz, Christianity Today, 4 October 2004.
Kristin Wright and Rosemary Schindler, ? Auschwitz Again? ? Insight on the News, 24 September 2004.
?House Passes North Korea Human Rights Bill ,? BreakPoint Online, July 2004.
Visit BreakPoint?s resource and fact page on North Korea . Also, you can learn more at Stand Today and the North Korea Freedom Coalition .
?North Korea Gesture ,? editorial, Washington Post, 23 September 2004.
Rowena Coetsee, ? Christian crusades for Jews ,? Contra Costa Times, 17 March 2003. (Registration required.)
Andrew Salmon, ? N. Korea is said to test poisons ,? International Herald Tribune, 24 November 2004.
Jeremy Kirk, ? N. Koreans detail deadly experiments on prisoners ,? Washington Times, 24 November 2004.
?Human Rights Advocacy in the Mainline Protestant Churches (2000-2003): A Critical Analysis ,? Institute on Religion and Democracy, 27 September 2004.
Roberta Cohen, ? Talking Human Rights With North Korea ,? Washington Post, 29 August 2004. (Reprinted by Brookings Institution.)
Rachel Zabarkes Friedman, ? North Korea 101 ,? National Review Online, 19 May 2004.
Kate Harris, ? Rescue the Perishing, Care for the Dying ,? BreakPoint WorldView, January/February 2004.
Allen Hertzke, Freeing God?s Children: The Unlikely Alliance for Global Human Rights (Rowman & Littlefield, 2004). Order it from BreakPoint: 1-877-322-5527.
Gary Haugen, The Good News about Injustice (InterVarsity, 1999).