(Washington, DC) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, introduced today a bipartisan bill, H.R. 6209, alongside Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, and senior committee members Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) and Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ), that extends the authorities under the North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004 in order to allow the U.S. to continue its efforts to promote human rights in North Korea. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“So much attention has been focused on the five nuclear tests conducted by the Kim regime over the past 10 years – including two earlier this year – that it’s easy to forget just how evil and brutal the regime in North Korea has been to its own people. Pyongyang has silenced dissent under threat of death and has eliminated basic and fundamental human rights to which all people are entitled. Countless individuals have been thrown into gulags and worked and tortured to death, with countless more suffering from malnourishment and starvation. This bill will extend our current efforts to promote and protect human rights in North Korea and it will continue to shine a light on the injustices being perpetrated by the regime with the hopes of spreading stability, peace and freedom to the entire Korean Peninsula.”
NOTE: H.R. 6209 extends until 2022 the authorities of the North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004, which have been subsequently reauthorized and strengthened in 2008 and 2012 by laws also authored by Rep. Ros-Lehtinen. The bill continues current authorities for North Korea-focused activities to promote human rights and democracy, refugee protection, and freedom of information (including broadcasting), as well as the U.S. Special Envoy on North Korean Human Rights Issues. It also continues reporting aimed at increasing transparency and accountability for any food aid provided to North Korea.