Go to contents

U.S. to Execute North Korean Human Rights Act by as Early as This Month

U.S. to Execute North Korean Human Rights Act by as Early as This Month

Posted October. 05, 2004 22:29,   


The North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004 (NKHRA), which advocates the improvement of the human rights of North Korean citizens and defectors, was ratified by the U.S. House of Representatives on October 5 and will be officially announced as early as mid-October, after the confirmation of U.S. President George W. Bush.

The final bill that was re-passed unanimously by the U.S. House of Representatives on October 5 was based on the original draft amendment of July with partial revisions made by the U.S. Senate on September 28.

This amendment consists of three titles: the first focusing on the promotion of North Korean citizens’ human rights, the second on aiding destitute North Korean citizens, and the third on the protection of defectors.

The bill also includes a budget allocation of nearly $24 million aimed at the expansion of human rights for North Korea for four years, between 2005 and 2008, and instructs the U.S. government to appoint a special envoy supervising North Korean human rights.

The North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesperson scathingly criticized the amendment on this day, denouncing the law “an attempt to set down the stage to overthrow our policies while insidious anti-communist groups support us financially and materially.”

Meanwhile, senior researcher Michael Horowitz of the Hudson Institute, who participated in drawing up the draft bill, held a press conference and said, “Congress will work on choosing North Korean democratization laws that are more rigorous, such as revitalizing the omitted clause ‘the number of the special immigration visa (S2) distributed to refugees who have knowledge of illegal weapons of mass destruction will be increased from an annual amount of 250 to 3500,’ amongst others.”

The U.S. Senate eliminated the controversial clause because concerns arose that North Korea might find it overly provocative.

Horowitz predicted, “President Bush will firmly support the bill by signing the legislation in the White House before the presidential election on November 2.”

Seung-Ryun Kim srkim@donga.com