Wednesday, October 06, 2004

The North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004 (USA)

North Korea Human Rights Act - final text documents, just published.
(As passed by the Senate and House of Representatives USA)

This Act although modified has a potential to give a serious blow to the current North Korean government.
The preamble of the bill contains detailed findings that describe humanitarian and human rights conditions
inside North Korea, and the torment of North Korean refugees.

Section-by-section summary of H.R. 4011

The North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004

The preamble of the bill contains: detailed findings that describe humanitarian and human rights conditions inside North Korea, and the plight of North Korean refugees; declarations of purpose; and definitions of terms used in the Act.

Title I - Promoting the Human Rights of North Koreans

Sec. 101. Sense of Congress Regarding Negotiations with North Korea - Expresses the sense of Congress that negotiations with North Korea and other parties in Northeast Asia should include the human rights of North Koreans as a key element.

Sec. 102. Support for Human Rights and Democracy Programs - Authorizes $2 million for each of the fiscal years 2005-2008 to support programs by private, nonprofit organizations to promote human rights, democracy, rule of law, and a market economy in North Korea.

Sec. 103. Broadcasting into North Korea - Expresses the sense of Congress that the U.S. should increase radio broadcasts into North Korea by Radio Free Asia and Voice of America, and requires a report detailing the technical and fiscal requirements needed to increase those broadcasts to 12 hours per day.

Sec. 104. Actions to Promote Freedom of Information - Authorizes $2 million for each of the fiscal years 2005-2008 to increase the availability of non-government-controlled sources of information to North Koreans, and requires a non-public report to Congress on such activities.

Sec. 105. United Nations Commission on Human Rights - Notes the role of the Commission in promoting improved human rights in North Korea, and urges additional North Korea-specific attention by the Commission, its working groups, and rapporteurs.

Sec. 106. Establishment of Regional Framework - Expresses the sense of Congress that the U.S. should explore the possibility of a regional human rights dialogue with North Korea (like the Helsinki process for the former Soviet Union).

Sec. 107. Special Envoy on Human Rights in North Korea - Mandates the appointment of a special envoy for human rights in North Korea within the State Department and outlines the duties of that position.

Title II - Assisting North Koreans in Need

Sec. 201. Report on United States Humanitarian Assistance - Requires the State Department and USAID to report annually (for the next 3 years) on (1) U.S. humanitarian assistance to North Koreans, (2) any improvements in humanitarian transparency and monitoring inside North Korea, and (3) specific efforts by the U.S. and U.S. grantees to secure better monitoring and access.

Sec. 202. Assistance Provided Inside North Korea - This section: (a) Expresses support for humanitarian assistance provided inside North Korea through NGOs and international organizations, but asserts that increases over current levels should be conditioned upon substantial improvements in transparency, monitoring, and access; (b) Outlines human rights and humanitarian principles that should govern any future U.S. aid provided directly to the North Korean government; and (c) Requires a one-time report from USAID on compliance with this section.

Sec. 203. Assistance Provided Outside North Korea - Authorizes $20 million for each of the fiscal years 2005-2008 for humanitarian assistance to North Korean refugees, orphans, and trafficking victims outside of North Korea.

Title III - Protecting North Korean Refugees

Sec. 301. U.S. Policy Toward Refugees and Defectors - Requires a one-time report from Executive Branch agencies describing the North Korean refugee situation and explaining U.S. policy toward North Korean refugees and defectors.

Sec. 302. Eligibility for Refugee or Asylum Consideration - Clarifies that North Koreans are eligible to apply for U.S. refugee and asylum consideration (just as people from any other nation are), and are not preemptively disqualified by any prospective claim to citizenship they may have under the South Korean constitution. This section does not change U.S. law but makes it clearer, explicitly endorsing the Department of Homeland Security's interpretation of current U.S. law. It does not grant North Koreans any preferential or expedited consideration. In addition, this provision of the bill expressly does not apply “to former North Korean nationals who have availed themselves of those rights [to Republic of Korea citizenship]� by resettling in South Korea.

Sec. 303. Facilitating Submission of Applications for Admission as a Refugee – Directs the State Department to facilitate the submission of refugee applications by North Koreans.

Sec. 304. United Nations High Commission for Refugees - Notes China’s obligations to provide UNHCR with access to North Koreans in China, urges UNHCR donor countries to press China for such access, urges the UNHCR to use professionals and NGOs with proven expertise in aiding North Koreans in China, and urges the UNHCR to assert its right to arbitration with China in an effort to secure access to North Koreans in China.

Sec. 305. Annual Reports - Requires annual reports (for the next 5 years) that include (a) the numbers of North Koreans admitted to the U.S. as refugees and asylees, and (b) information on measures taken to facilitate access to the U.S. refugee program by persons fleeing countries of particular concern for violations of religious freedom.

1 comment:

  1. China's People's Liberation Army moved more than 30,000 troops to areas along the Yalu River, which serves as the country's border with North Korea, earlier this month, the Sankei Shimbun said Thursday, quoting a source close to Japanese and Chinese relations. The source was quoted as saying the move is a prelude to a major drill or an arrangement to stem the inflow of a rising number of North Koreans at the border, according to the newspaper.

    It said, quoting another source, the North Korean army has dispatched elite forces along the river in response to China's move.


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