North Korean Human Rights Bill: What Happened?

Last month I wrote about the United Nation’s resolution for North Korean human rights. In this article I also mentioned South Korea’s attempt at a similar resolution, the North Korean Human Rights Act. The bill was first introduced in 2005, again in 2008, and yet again in 2011. When I wrote the article on the U.N. resolution, it was still unclear as to what the Korean National Assembly may decide to do with the bill. But with the term of the incumbent National Assembly coming to an end, it seems that the bill will once again be shoved into the dark and forgotten.

It looked as if there may finally be some hope for the bill when it was passed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and also by the Ministry of Unification back in February of last year. But that’s as far as it has gotten since then. Its passage was fervently blocked by opposition party leaders who were concerned that it might anger North Korea. Continue reading

In the News – Emergency Hearing on North Korean Refugees in China

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In the News – Emergency Hearing on North Korean Refugees in China

From L to R, T. Kumar, Director, International Advocacy for Amnesty International USA; Greg Scarlatoiu, Executive Director, the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea; and Michael Horowitz, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute testifies before the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, March 5. They said that China’s forced repatriation of North Korean refugees violates International law. (Gary Feuerberg/ The Epoch Times)

WASHINGTON—The Congressional Executive Commission on China (CECC) held an emergency hearing to draw attention to the over 30 North Korean refugees who had fled to China and are facing the imminent danger of repatriation. If returned, they face certain persecution, torture, and even execution.

“The international community—especially the United Nations, the Obama Administration, and the U.S. Congress—must insist that China at long last honor its treaty obligations, end its egregious practice of [forced return to North Korea], or be exposed as hypocrites,” said Rep. Chris Smith, Chairman of the CECC, March 5 in his opening remarks. Continue reading

In the News – China Urged to Change Course on N. Korean Defectors

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In the News – China Urged to Change Course on N. Korean Defectors

Photo: AP A North Korean defector holds a banner during a rally for North Korean refugees who were repatriated by the Chinese government, in front of the Chinese Embassy in Seoul, South Korea. (2011 File)

China is facing growing calls to stop the repatriation of dozens of North Koreans who recently fled into China and are being held by authorities. China says it has the right to send them back, calling them “economic migrants.”  But human rights activists say the detainees could face torture and execution, if they are returned to North Korea.

U.S. lawmakers held a hearing on Monday to highlight the urgency of the situation.

Representative Chris Smith, a Republican from New Jersey and head of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, said that in recent weeks Chinese authorities have detained dozens of North Koreans who have fled to China. Continue reading

In the News – U.S. activists urge China to stop repatriation of N. Korean defectors

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In the News – U.S. activists urge China to stop repatriation of N. Korean defectors

By Lee Chi-dong
WASHINGTON, March 1 (Yonhap) — A group of U.S.-based human rights activists staged an eye-catching protest rally Thursday right in front of the Chinese Embassy in Washington, demanding Beijing stop the forceful repatriation of North Korean defectors.

In a street performance, a participant, wearing the uniform of Chinese security officials, dragged two women, with their faces masked and hands tied with ropes. Continue reading