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Pompeo urges religious leaders to speak up for people in N. Korea

All News 02:44 October 01, 2020

WASHINGTON, Sept. 30 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has urged religious leaders to speak up for basic human rights and religious freedom of those oppressed in many countries, including North Korea, the State Department said Wednesday.

In a speech delivered at the Vatican, the top U.S. diplomat underlined the importance of religious freedom as a "litmus test for the respect of all human rights," according to a transcript of his speech released by the State Department.

While Pompeo focused chiefly on China and the Uyghur Muslims in China's Xinjinag, he also called on the leaders of all faiths to reach out to their brothers and sisters in other countries.

"It's my fervent hope that Muslim leaders will speak up for the Uyghurs and other oppressed Muslims in China, including ethnic Kazakhs and the Krygyz. Jewish leaders, too, must stand up for the dwindling Jewish community in Yemen. Christian leaders have an obligation to speak up for their brothers and sisters in Iraq, in North Korea, and in Cuba," he said.

North Korea has Christian churches and Buddhist temples, but they are widely considered a disguise for non-existent religious freedom.

The communist state periodically denies committing any human rights violations, also rejecting U.S. and other international reports on its dire human rights conditions and violations.

In the photo, provided by the National Council of Churches in Korea, representatives from the South Korean council are seen posing for a group photo along with members of North Korea's Bongsu Church during their visit to the protestant church in Pyongyang in May 2018. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

bdk@yna.co.kr
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