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(ICC) – On Wednesday, the House unanimously passed the most significant human rights legislation of the year: H.R. 4011, the North Korean Human Rights Act, which extends humanitarian aid to North Korea . North Korea is not just dangerous because it possesses nuclear weapons, said Mariam Bell , National Director of Public Policy for the Wilberforce Forum. It is dangerous because it has brutally and systematically degraded and devalued all of human life. Under North Korean Leader Kim Jong II, hundreds of thousands are currently contained in prison camps and regularly experience arbitrary and systematic torture, chemical and biological experimentation, extraneous labor, and execution — and all this must end, Bell said. A former prisoner at the Korean Yeoduk Prison, imprisoned at age 10 for his grandfather’s crime, reported: Normally there are cases of execution in public, several times a year. Before the execution there were tortured. They were not given food, and the joints of bones are separated, and the bones are exposed, sticking out of the skin. And they become light enough to carry by hand after torture and starvation. (MSNBC News, Jan. 15, 2003)

Bell said, The significance of H.R. 4011 is its aim to promote human rights, assistance, democracy, and refugee aid in North Korea . The House deserves great praise for their consideration and quick passage of this vital human rights bill, and we call upon the Senate to expedite this in a like manner.

The North Korea Human Rights Act of 2004, H.R. 4011, is significant legislation aimed at promoting freedom and human rights in North Korea . Among other things, the North Korea Freedom Act will:

  • Appropriate generous financial support for human rights groups to help the North Korean people
  • Increase Radio Free Asia broadcasts to North Korea
  • Promote transparency in humanitarian aid distribution and strengthening of inspections
  • Provide for the recognition of North Korean defectors’ refugee status
  • Provide for the construction of North Korean refugee camps
  • Permit North Korean defectors to apply for asylum in the United States