On July 21, 2004 the United States House of Representatives approved, by voice vote, the North Korea Human Rights Act (H.R. 4011). The House International Relations Committee approved the measure on March 31 (see The Source, 4/2/04).
Sponsored by Rep. Jim Leach (R-IA), H.R. 4011 would authorize $100 million annually through FY2008 for humanitarian assistance and the expansion of the World Food Program into North Korea. The bill also would provide $2 million for grants to private, nonprofit organizations promoting human rights in North Korea. According to the bill, "North Korean women and girls, particularly those who have fled into China, are at risk of being kidnapped, trafficked, and sexually exploited inside China, where many are sold as brides or concubines, or forced to work as prostitutes." The measure would provide $20 million for humanitarian and legal assistance to North Korean refugees, orphans, and women who are victims of trafficking. H.R. 4011 also would set guidelines for determining refugee status and asylum eligibility for North Koreans.
Rep. Leach said that, "Many thousands of North Koreans are hiding inside China, which currently refuses the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees the opportunity to evaluate and identify genuine refugees among the North Korean migrant population. China forcibly returns North Koreans to North Korea, where they routinely face imprisonment and torture and sometimes execution. Inside China, North Korean women and girls are particularly vulnerable to trafficking in sexual exploitation." He noted that the bill "authorizes increased funding for assistance to North Koreans outside of North Korea, including refugees, orphans, and trafficking victims."
Sen. Sam Brownback (S-KS) has introduced a comparable bill (S. 1903) in the Senate.
For more information, see: http://www.womenspolicy.org/thesource/issue.cfm?IssueID=184
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