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Boyle Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Hold North Korea Accountable for Human Rights Abuses During Negotiations

June 13, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Brendan F. Boyle (D-PA), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced bipartisan legislation to prohibit the lifting of economic sanctions on North Korea absent certification that it is improving its abysmal human rights record.  The legislation aims to strengthen the diplomatic hand of American negotiators to allow – and require – them to raise these issues during negotiations.  Congressman Ralph Norman (R-SC) joined Congressman Boyle from across the aisle to introduce this timely legislation.  While President Trump professed to have discussed the subject with Kim Jung-Un during yesterday’s summit in Singapore, human rights advocates do not believe the issue was sufficiently addressed.
“North Korea has a long, storied history as one of the worst human rights offenders,” said Congressman Boyle.  “The president once called Kim a ‘sick puppy’ and a ‘madman who doesn’t mind starving his own people'.  He has killed his own family members, proliferated forced labor camps, and publicly executed perceived political opponents.  Yet, there was no mention of this in Singapore as President Trump lavished the North Korean leader with compliments and the two warmly embraced in a showing of unity.  The president’s determination to strike a deal on denuclearization must not fail to address the human rights situation there, a core tenant of American foreign policy and identity.  The regime’s vast apparatus of repression must be addressed from the beginning of the process, alongside its nuclear weapons and missile programs.”  
“Because of President Trump’s great leadership on the world stage, he has brought us one step closer to peace and a denuclearized Korean Peninsula,” said Congressman Norman.  “I commend the President for this very historic moment, which no other president has been able to accomplish.  However, the North Korean regime is notoriously known for their evil, vile human rights abuses against their own people.  We cannot let these situations go unnoticed.  North Korea must be held accountable for these horrific actions.  The lifting of economic sanctions on the country must not occur until Congress can certify that the country denuclearizes and the people of North Korea’s lives are not at risk.”
The bill introduced by Reps. Boyle and Norman would provide a multipronged approach to balancing the priorities of denuclearization with proactively addressing the gaping human rights void in North Korea.  As a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Boyle has been a consistent and outspoken proponent of U.S. leadership on matters of human rights across the globe; from Iran to Syria and North Korea.  He is co-chair of the bipartisan Friends of a Free, Stable and Democratic Syria Caucus, which advocates for national and international efforts to bring justice and accountability to Syria on crimes committed by the Assad regime.