U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, commended last night's Senate passage of the Ambassador James R. Lilley and Congressman Stephen J. Solarz North Korea Human Rights Reauthorization Act (H.R. 4240), which she authored. The strongly bipartisan bill passed the House in May and will now be sent to the President for signature. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"A regime that maims its own people with impunity cannot be trusted to keep its agreements with foreigners. Thus, solving the North Korea human rights issue is also a necessary part of addressing the North Korea security threat.
"This new law extends for five years important United States efforts to promote human rights, freedom of information, humanitarian aid transparency, and refugee protection for the people of North Korea. It will address the urgent need for human rights and refugee protection while furthering U.S. security interests in the region.
"Some press outlets have recently bought into North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's charm offensive, even featuring photos of him riding a rollercoaster with foreign diplomats during one of his visits to a Pyongyang amusement park. The world needs to worry less about North Korea's amusement parks, and more about its gulags. If Kim Jong Un really wants to improve the quality of life in North Korea, he should start by freeing the men, women, and children who are worked, starved, and tortured to death in his hellish prison camps.
"The reality is that since Kim Jong Un has taken power, his regime has cracked down on North Koreans who attempt to escape or make contact with the outside world, putting more of them into camps or in front of firing squads.
"I want to thank my colleagues in the Senate for their strong support of this bipartisan bill, and urge the President to promptly sign it into law."