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NORTH KOREA FREEDOM COALITION URGES FULL FUNDING FOR NORTH KOREAN HUMAN RIGHTS ACT

Washington , D.C. , June 22, 2005_The North Korea Freedom Coalition, a

nonpartisan group of nearly 50 American, Korean American and international

human rights, religious, and non-governmental organizations representing

millions of American citizens, strongly urges Congress to make the full

funding of the North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-333) a

top priority of the appropriations bill.

In letters directed to Appropriations Committee leaders Senator Mitch

McConnell and Congressman Jim Kolbe, the NKFC wrote:

“We believe this funding is not only vitally needed, but a reflection of the

desire of both the U.S. Congress and the Administration to address the

horrific situation facing the North Korean refugees, while simultaneously

reaching out to the North Korean people.

“When President George W. Bush signed the North Korean Human Rights Act into

law on October 18, 2004, the White House pledged to ‘work with concerned

states in the region and internationally to take steps to improve the lives

of the average North Korean.’ ”

“Each day hundreds of North Koreans are dying from starvation, from torture

in the political prison camps, and by execution for the crime of leaving the

country. We believe that full funding for this legislation will have an

immediate impact in saving the lives of North Koreans, as the legislation

authors fully intended.”

The legislation, which unanimously passed the Congress last fall, authorizes

$20 million annually in humanitarian assistance to the North Korean refugees

while providing $2 million for programs promoting human rights and democracy

for North Korea and $2 million for activities to promote freedom of

information inside North Korea .

Although the North Korean Human Rights Act passed the Congress unanimously,

the legislation passed so late in the Congressional session that the funding

called for in the legislation was not included in the FY2005 appropriations

bill.