Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2061, formally known as the North Korea Human Rights Reauthorization Act of 2017. This bill not only provides much needed relief to many displaced citizens of Kim Jong-un's cruel regime, but it also provides tools for the United States to more effectively respond to the North Korean crisis. The bill also renews the responsibilities of the Special Envoy to North Korea and provides congressional oversight for all US endeavors concerning North Korea, including technology and information drops, radio broadcasting, and refugee assistance.
This bill, introduced in April of this year, renews legislation that was passed in 2004, granting relief to the North Korean people. For almost 70 years, North Korea has been ruled by the Kim family. Countless thousands have fled the state in order to avoid execution, starvation, or life imprisonment for trivial offenses against the state. In an effort to provide aid to those who have fled the atrocities of the Kim regime, H.R. 2061 will place much needed resources in the hands of those who can directly assist the most destitute individuals.
In a statement prior to the vote in yesterday's session, Congressman Ed Royce asserted, "The Kim regime wants to pose a mortal threat to the United States, and to our democratic, treaty allies: South Korea and Japan. But in facing this reality, we cannot afford to forget the regime's greatest victim and longest-held hostage: The North Korean people themselves."
In a time when tensions with the North Korean government are at an all-time high, H.R. 2061 provides the necessary tools for the US government to help address this human rights crisis.
Nate Lance, ICC's Advocacy Manager, stated, "ICC is pleased to see H.R. 2061 pass through the US House of Representatives. This bill is critically important in allowing the US to address the human rights crisis in North Korea through its special envoy on human rights and the variety of programs to enhance humanitarian support outside of the country and promote freedom of information. I agree with Chairman Royce when he says that although we are in a tense security situation with North Korea, the North Korean people cannot be forgotten. The House has demonstrated that commitment, and I hope the Senate will follow shortly."
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Publication date: September 26, 2017