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U.S. legislation calls for reauthorizing N. Korean Human Rights Act

All Headlines 03:35 October 06, 2016

WASHINGTON, Oct. 5 (Yonhap) -- A U.S. House lawmaker has submitted a bill extending the mandate of the North Korean Human Rights Act by five more years until 2022.

The law, which was first enacted in 2004 and is set to expire next year, centers on providing support for non-governmental groups working to improve the North's human rights situation, increasing the provision of outside information in the North and helping North Korean refugees.

It has so far been extended twice, first until 2012 and then until 2017.

Last week, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) introduced legislation reauthorizing the act until 2022, together with five co-sponsors -- Reps. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Matt Salmon (R-AZ), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Steve Chabot (R-OH) and Albio Sires (D-NJ), according to congressional records.

"So much attention has been focused on the five nuclear tests conducted by the Kim regime over the past 10 years, including two earlier this year, that it's easy to forget just how evil and brutal the regime in North Korea has been to its own people," Ros-Lehtinen said in a statement.

The communist regime has silenced dissent under threat of death and has eliminated basic and fundamental human rights. Countless individuals have been thrown into gulags and worked and tortured to death, with countless more suffering from malnourishment and starvation, she said.

"This bill will extend our current efforts to promote and protect human rights in North Korea and it will continue to shine a light on the injustices being perpetrated by the regime with the hopes of spreading stability, peace and freedom to the entire Korean Peninsula," the lawmaker said.

jschang@yna.co.kr
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