Posted November. 07, 2009 08:40,
The government of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea is one of the worst abusers of human rights in the world.
This is according to Robert King, U.S. President Barack Obamas nominee for special envoy on North Korean human rights, in his Senate confirmation hearing yesterday.
Pledging he will seek effective ways to help North Korean defectors if appointed, King urged China not to expel or repatriate them to North Korea by following its obligations as a party to the 1951 U.N. Refugee Convention.
He also asked China to allow defectors to get access to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.
King pledged to facilitate entry by international organizations in North Korea and expand broadcasting into the communist country to protect the human rights of the North Korean people.
Since the 2004 passage of the North Korean Human Rights Act, 93 defectors have settled in the U.S. he said. If confirmed, I will work with international organizations and countries in the region to help North Korean asylum seekers obtain protection, he added.
The United States continues to be concerned about Japans abducted citizens and South Korean POWs and abductees. If confirmed, I will actively participate in diplomatic efforts to support our partners in the resolution of these issues.
King helped draft the North Korean Human Rights Act in 2004 and was chief of staff to Rep. Tom Lantos, who helped the U.S. House of Representatives approve a resolution about Korean comfort women, who worked as sex slaves for the Japanese Imperial Army in 2007.
Sen. John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Richard Lugar and Rep. Howard Berman, chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, attended the hearing to speak for King.