H.R. 4240

Ambassador James R. Lilley and Congressman Stephen J. Solarz North Korea Human Rights Reauthorization Act of 2012

This bill extends until 2017 the authorities of the North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004 to promote human rights, refugee protection, and freedom of information for the people of North Korea.  It also maintains reporting to Congress on broadcasting to North Korea, refugee and asylum applications, and transparency and monitoring of international humanitarian assistance.  The bill also expresses the sense of Congress that the U.S. should continue to seek international cooperation on North Korean refugee resettlement, and that China should cease its forced repatriation of North Koreans. This strongly bipartisan reauthorization is named in honor of Ambassador James Lilley (U.S. Ambassador to South Korea and China under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush) and former Congressman Stephen Solarz (D-NY, former Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on East Asia & the Pacific), both of whom worked on North Korea human rights and refugee issues in the final years of their lives.


The North Korean regime remains one of the world’s worst human rights abusers.  Hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children are forced into slave labor, starved, and tortured to death in isolated camps. Even outside the camps, the North Korean people enjoy no freedoms of speech, religion, press, or assembly.  Officials crush any dissent, and have reportedly authorized the on-the-spot execution of those attempting to flee the country.  Tragically, many North Koreans who successfully escape and flee to China are sent back to North Korea by Chinese authorities.  A regime that maims its own people with impunity cannot be trusted to keep its agreements with foreigners. Thus, solving the North Korean human rights issue is also an integral part of addressing the North Korean security threat.


STATUS: H.R. 4240 was passed by the House on May 15, 2012, and passed by the Senate on August 2, 2012. H.R. 4240 was signed into law August 16, 2012. 


More information on H.R. 4240 at the Library of Congress »