Claims reported today in NK News by South Korea that North Korea has executed a top official from its own cabinet highlight the risks of falling foul of the communist dictatorship – also faced by groups such as Christians.

Their fate is usefully explained in a short video animation from the International Coalition to Stop Crimes Against Humanity in N. Korea (ICNK), a network of NGOs working towards freedom for N. Korea.

Building on the UN Commission of Inquiry’s 2014 ‘landmark’ report, the animation explains that 24% of North Koreans identified as religious in 1950 but in 2002 that figure had dropped to 0.16%.

Although a few state-backed churches do exist, they are seen as a source of propaganda and securing foreign currency. Most Christians belong to the underground Church. N. Korea heads charity Open Doors’ annual World Watch List of the most difficult countries in which to live as a Christian. It estimates 400,000 Christians today in N. Korea – about 1.5% of the estimated population of almost 25 million.