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H.R. 2061: North Korean Human Rights Reauthorization Act of 2017

The text of the bill below is as of Sep 25, 2017 (Passed the House).


I

115th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 2061

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

AN ACT

To reauthorize the North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the North Korean Human Rights Reauthorization Act of 2017.

2.

Findings

Congress finds the following:

(1)

The North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004 (22 U.S.C. 7801 et seq.), the North Korean Human Rights Reauthorization Act of 2008 (Public Law 110–346), and the Ambassador James R. Lilley and Congressman Stephen J. Solarz North Korea Human Rights Reauthorization Act of 2012 (Public Law 112–172) were the products of broad, bipartisan consensus regarding the promotion of human rights, transparency in the delivery of humanitarian assistance, and the importance of refugee protection.

(2)

Fundamental human rights and humanitarian conditions inside North Korea remain deplorable, North Korean refugees remain acutely vulnerable, and the congressional findings included in the Acts listed in paragraph (1) remain substantially accurate today.

(3)

The United States, which has the largest international refugee resettlement program in the world, has resettled 212 North Koreans since the enactment of the North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004.

(4)

In addition to the longstanding commitment of the United States to refugee and human rights advocacy, the United States is home to the largest Korean population outside of northeast Asia, and many people in the Korean-American community have family ties to North Korea.

(5)

Notwithstanding high-level advocacy by the United States, South Korea, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, China has forcibly repatriated tens of thousands of North Koreans.

(6)

Congressman Eni F.H. Faleomavaega served 25 years in the House of Representatives, including as the Chairman and the Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, was a leader in strengthening the relationship between the American and Korean peoples, authored multiple resolutions regarding issues on the Korean Peninsula, was a champion of human rights, and stated, in support of the Ambassador James R. Lilley and Congressman Stephen J. Solarz North Korea Human Rights Reauthorization Act of 2012, that just as Ambassador Lilley and Congressman Solarz worked hard to protect the human rights of the North Korean people, we must remain vigilant in helping the people of North Korea who struggle daily to escape the oppression and tyranny of the North Korean regime.

3.

Sense of Congress

(a)

In general

It is the sense of Congress that—

(1)

the United States should continue to seek cooperation from all foreign governments to allow the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees access to process North Korean refugees overseas for resettlement and to allow United States officials access to process refugees for resettlement in the United States (if that is the destination country of the refugees’ choosing);

(2)

the Secretary of State, through persistent diplomacy by senior officials, including United States ambassadors to Asia-Pacific countries, and in close cooperation with United States ally South Korea, should make every effort to promote the protection of North Korean refugees and defectors; and

(3)

because North Koreans fleeing into China face a well-founded fear of persecution upon their forcible repatriation, the United States should urge China to—

(A)

immediately halt the forcible repatriation of North Koreans;

(B)

allow the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees unimpeded access to North Koreans inside China to determine whether such North Koreans require protection as refugees; and

(C)

fulfill its obligations under the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, and the Agreement on the Upgrading of the UNHCR Mission in the People's Republic of China to UNHCR Branch Office in the People's Republic of China (signed December 1, 1995).

(b)

Continuing sense of Congress

It remains the sense of Congress, as specified in section 3(3) of the North Korean Human Rights Reauthorization Act of 2008 (Public Law 110–346; 22 U.S.C. 7801 note), that the Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights Issues should be a full-time position within the Department of State in order to properly promote and coordinate North Korean human rights and humanitarian issues, and to participate in policy planning and implementation with respect to refugee issues, as intended by the North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004 (Public Law 108–333; 22 U.S.C. 7801 et seq.).

4.

Reauthorization of the North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004

(a)

Human rights and democracy programs

Paragraph (1) of section 102(b) of the North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004 (22 U.S.C. 7812(b)) is amended by striking 2017 and inserting 2022.

(b)

Promoting freedom of information

Section 104 of the North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004 (22 U.S.C. 7814) is amended—

(1)

in subsection (b)(1)—

(A)

by striking $2,000,000 and inserting $3,000,000; and

(B)

by striking 2017 and inserting 2022; and

(2)

in subsection (c), by striking 2017 and inserting 2022.

(c)

Report by special envoy on North Korean human rights

Subsection (d) of section 107 of the North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004 (22 U.S.C. 7817) is amended by striking 2017 and inserting 2022.

(d)

Report on humanitarian assistance

Section 201 of the North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004 (22 U.S.C. 7831) is amended in the matter preceding paragraph (1) by striking 2017 and inserting 2022.

(e)

Assistance provided outside of North Korea

Paragraph (1) of section 203(c) of the North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004 (22 U.S.C. 7833(c)) is amended by striking 2017 and inserting 2022.

(f)

Annual reporting

Section 305 of the North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004 (22 U.S.C. 7845) is amended in the matter preceding paragraph (1) by striking 2017 and inserting 2022.

5.

Actions to promote freedom of information and democracy in North Korea

The North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004, as amended by this Act, is further amended—

(1)

in subsection (a) of section 103 (22 U.S.C. 7813)—

(A)

by striking radio broadcasting and inserting broadcasting, including news rebroadcasting,; and

(B)

by striking increase broadcasts and inserting increase such broadcasts, including news rebroadcasts,; and

(2)

in subsection (a) of section 104 (22 U.S.C. 7814)—

(A)

by striking The President and inserting the following:

(1)

In general

The President

;

(B)

by inserting , USB drives, micro SD cards, audio players, video players, cell phones, wi-fi, wireless internet, webpages, internet, wireless telecommunications, and other electronic media that share information before the period at the end; and

(C)

by adding at the end the following new paragraphs:

(2)

Distribution

In accordance with the sense of Congress described in section 103, the President, acting through the Secretary of State, is authorized to distribute or provide grants to distribute information receiving devices, electronically readable devices, and other informational sources into North Korea, including devices and informational sources specified in paragraph (1). To carry out this paragraph, the President is authorized to issue directions to facilitate the free-flow of information into North Korea.

(3)

Research and development grant program

In accordance with the authorization described in paragraphs (1) and (2) to increase the availability and distribution of sources of information inside North Korea, the President, acting through the Secretary of State, is authorized to establish a grant program to make grants to eligible entities to develop or distribute (or both) new products or methods to allow North Koreans easier access to outside information. Such program may involve public-private partnerships.

(4)

Culture

In accordance with the sense of Congress described in section 103, the Broadcasting Board of Governors may broadcast American, Korean, and other popular music, television, movies, and popular cultural references as part of its programming.

(5)

Rights and laws

In accordance with the sense of Congress described in section 103, the Broadcasting Board of Governors shall broadcast to North Korea in the Korean language information on rights, laws, and freedoms afforded through the North Korean Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and any other applicable treaties or international agreements to which North Korea is bound.

(6)

Broadcasting report

Not later than—

(A)

180 days after the date of the enactment of this paragraph, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Broadcasting Board of Governors, shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report that sets forth a detailed plan for improving broadcasting content for the purpose of reaching additional audiences and increasing consumption of uncensored news and information using all available and reasonable means; and

(B)

1 year after the date of the enactment of this paragraph and annually thereafter for each of the next 5 years, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Broadcasting Board of Governors, shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report on the effectiveness of actions taken pursuant to this section, including data reflecting audience and listenership, device distribution and usage, technological development and advancement usage, and other information as requested by such committees.

.

6.

Repeal of duplicate authorizations

Section 403 of the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016 (Public Law 114–122; 22 U.S.C. 9253) is hereby repealed.

7.

Report by the Broadcasting Board of Governors

(a)

In general

Not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Broadcasting Board of Governors shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report that—

(1)

describes the status of current United States broadcasting to North Korea and the extent to which the Board has achieved the goal of 12-hour-per-day broadcasting to North Korea, in accordance with section 103(a) of the North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004 (22 U.S.C. 7813(a)); and

(2)

includes a strategy to overcome obstacles to such communication with the North Korean people, including through unrestricted, unmonitored, and inexpensive electronic means.

(b)

Form

The report required under subsection (a) shall be submitted in unclassified form, but may include a classified annex.

(c)

Appropriate congressional committees

In this section, the term appropriate congressional committees means—

(1)

the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives; and

(2)

the Committee on Foreign Relations and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate.

8.

Report by the Department of State

(a)

In general

Not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the heads of other relevant Federal departments and agencies, shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report that includes a description of any ongoing or planned efforts of the Department of State with respect to each of the following:

(1)

Resuming the repatriation from North Korea of members of the United States Armed Forces missing or unaccounted for during the Korean War.

(2)

Reuniting Korean Americans with their relatives in North Korea.

(3)

Assessing the security risks posed by travel to North Korea for United States citizens.

(b)

Form

The report required under subsection (a) shall be submitted in unclassified form.

(c)

Appropriate congressional committees

In this section, the term appropriate congressional committees means—

(1)

the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives; and

(2)

the Committee on Foreign Relations and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate.

Passed the House of Representatives September 25, 2017.

Karen L. Haas,

Clerk.