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Rubio, Kaine Introduce Bill to Reauthorize North Korean Human Rights Act

May 13, 2022 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) introduced the North Korean Human Rights Reauthorization Act of 2022. The bill would reauthorize the North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004 for five years past its expiration in September 2022. U.S. Representative Young Kim (R-CA) introduced the House version of this legislation earlier this year. Senator Rubio led the successful effort to reauthorize the North Korean Human Rights Act in 2018.
“As Pyongyang continues to disregard the dignity of its citizens and demonstrates no tolerance for human rights, I’m proud to introduce legislation to reauthorize the North Korean Human Rights Act,Rubio said. “As a beacon for democracy, the United States must do all we can to support the cause of human rights and assist those fleeing Kim’s regime. I urge my colleagues to ensure its swift passage in the Senate.” 
“The ongoing abuses being committed by the North Korean regime are a direct affront to the values enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” Kaine said. “This bipartisan legislation will provide critical support for the North Korean people, who continue to have their most basic freedoms denied. Today and every day, I will push for initiatives that strengthen the rights and protect the dignity of the North Korean people.”
“Rather than commit to peace, Kim Jong-un has continued his father’s legacy of oppressing, starving and torturing his own people to preserve his power and build nuclear weapons. The U.S. must stand strong against human rights abuses in North Korea. As an immigrant from South Korea with family members who fled North Korea, supporting the North Korean people is personal to me,” Kim said. “I thank Senators Rubio and Kaine for introducing the Senate companion to the North Korean Human Rights Reauthorization Act of 2022 and look forward to our two chambers passing a final text into law.”
Specifically, the North Korean Human Rights Reauthorization Act would: 

  • Reauthorize humanitarian assistance, democracy programs and broadcasting until 2027; 
  • Make technical changes to the bill to reflect the fact that the US Agency for Global Media replaced the Broadcasting Board of Governors; 
  • Require a report from the administration, within 180 days, on progress towards appointing a Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights, which has remained vacant since 2017; 
  • Require the State Department to increase efforts to increase North Korean refugees’ participation in U.S. and South Korean resettlement programs, including placing a refugee coordinator in an embassy located in Asia and providing information on resettlement programs in information disseminated in North Korea; and 
  • Modify the North Korean Sanctions and Policy Act of 2016 to impose sanctions on Chinese and Russian officials responsible for forcibly repatriating North Koreans back to North Korea.