U.S. Rep. Young Kim (CA-39), Vice Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia and Nonproliferation, and Subcommittee Chair Ami Bera (CA-07), introduced the North Korean Human Rights Reauthorization Act of 2022.
This bipartisan bill would reauthorize, update and improve the North Korean Human Rights Act, which became law in 2004 to promote human rights and freedom in North Korea.
Reps. Michelle Steel (CA-48) and Chris Smith (NJ-04) joined Reps. Kim and Bera as original cosponsors of this bill.
“Kim Jong-un continues to oppress the North Korean people through torture, imprisonment, forced labor and starvation in his quest to expand North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and gain military power. These gross human rights abuses cannot be tolerated,” said Kim. “As an immigrant from South Korea with family members who fled North Korea, supporting the North Korean people is personal to me. I’m proud to lead the charge to ensure the U.S. promotes human rights for the people of North Korea and continues to be a beacon for hope, freedom and democracy.”
“North Korea continues to commit egregious human rights violations against its people, including arbitrary detention, forced disappearance, torture, and the restriction of freedom of religion and belief,” said Representative Ami Bera, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia, and Nonproliferation. “I am proud to introduce bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004 to hold North Korea accountable for its human rights atrocities. As we face rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula, the United States Congress will continue to support fundamental human rights in North Korea, while seeking reasonable steps forward toward peace on the peninsula.”
“The reauthorization of the North Korean Human Rights Act is critical to the security of the United States and our staunch allies, friends and partners in Northeast Asia. Robust implementation of the Act is essential to bringing freedom, human rights, prosperity, reconciliation, and eventually unification to all Koreans. We need a U.S. Special Envoy for North Korean human rights issues. The United States must provide much better protection to North Korean refugees, and we need to see more of them resettling in the United States. Information campaigns are critical to empowering the people of North Korea. After all, they are the only ones who can bring positive change to the Korean peninsula and the region,” said Greg Scarlatoiu, Executive Director, the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea.
Included in the North Korean Human Rights Act are initiatives Rep. Kim has worked on such as:
- Reuniting Korean American divided families with their war-torn loved ones;
- Appointing a Special Envoy on North Korean Human Rights Issues;
- Supporting U.S. Agency for Global Media’s broadcasting efforts to promote freedom of information in North Korea;
- Ensuring the delivery and distribution of humanitarian aid goes to the people of North Korea and does not support military operations; and,
- Working with the United Nation’s Refugee Agency to protect and resettle refugees from North Korea.
Read the bill HERE.