The Ambassador James R. Lilley and Congressman Stephen J. Solarz North Korea Human Rights Reauthorization Act of 2012 extends the 2004 and 2008 Acts

WASHINGTON, DC – The bipartisan North Korea Human Rights Reauthorization Act of 2012 introduced by U.S. Rep. Howard Berman, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, passed the U.S. House of Representatives today.

“As innocent men, women and children flee the repressive North Korean regime at great personal risk, we have a moral obligation to assist these refugees and prevent their forcible repatriation,” said U.S. Rep. Howard Berman. “We must continue working with our close ally South Korea, other friends in the region, and the human rights community to expose the horrendous abuses being committed in the North.”

H.R. 4240 reauthorizes the North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004, along with some provisions that were included in the 2008 reauthorization. This bill, like its predecessors, is the product of a broad, bipartisan consensus regarding the atrocious human rights situation in North Korea.

This legislation continues to provide resources to assist North Korean refugees, support democracy and human rights programs, and promote freedom of information in the North. It also extends the Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights Issues—a vital position that plays a central role in advocating for improved human rights in the North.

Furthermore, the bill calls on China to halt its forcible repatriation of North Koreans and allow the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees unimpeded access to North Koreans inside China to determine whether fleeing North Koreans require protection.

A copy of the bill appears here.