Bipartisan Resolution Urges Biden Admin to Protect North Korean Defectors

VOC’s President and CEO, Dr. Eric Patterson, is quoted in a bipartisan resolution introduced by VOC Caucus member Rep. Michelle Steel (CA-45), that urges the Biden administration to protect North Korean defectors.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Michelle Steel (CA-45) introduced a bipartisan resolution with Reps. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Young Kim (R-CA) and Anthony D’Esposito (R-NY) urging the Biden Administration and our allies to address the human rights crisis facing North Koreans in China. North Koreans who have escaped their Communist government into China looking for freedom face detention, forced labor, human trafficking, and forcible repatriation back to North Korea.

If they are repatriated, North Koreans endure serious human rights abuses including torture, rape, forced labor, and death.

“As North Korea and the CCP aggressively hunt for defectors, innocent North Koreans searching for freedom, like my parents did so many years ago, need our help now more than ever,” said Steel. “The vast majority of these individuals are women and girls who are sexually abused, trafficked, and forced into ‘marriages’ with Chinese citizens. They are treated as less than human. We must use every tool at our disposal to end these horrific abuses.”

“North Koreans fleeing their regime’s human rights abuses, as my relatives did, face the same brutal treatment from forced labor and arbitrary detention to human trafficking, by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP),” said Kim. “I am proud to join a bipartisan resolution to call on Congress to stand with freedom-loving North Korean refugees subject to CCP human rights abuses.” 

“The United States and our international partners must demand that the Chinese Communist Party end its campaign of violence against North Korean defectors who fled to China in order to escape the totalitarian North Korean regime,” said D’Esposito. “I am proud to join Congresswoman Michelle Steele and a bipartisan contingent of legislators in urging the Biden Administration to more closely examine the abuse North Korean refugees face at the hands of the CCP and encourage the President to take a stronger stand against China’s horrific treatment of North Koreans seeking freedom from Kim Jong Un’s repressive dictatorship.”

“I fully support CECC Commissioner Michelle Steel’s resolution calling attention to the People’s Republic of China’s forced repatriation of North Korean refugees, in violation of its obligations under the Refugee Convention and the Convention against Torture – not to mention basic human dignity,” said Congressional Executive Commission on China Chair Smith. ” Hundreds have already been forcibly refouled.  Behind each number there is a face – women such as Kim Cheol-ok, who had lived in China for 25 years  since she was a teenager and now barely speaks Korean.  Not only has she been separated from her children, but she now faces torture and hard labor in North Korea’s gulags, or kwalliso.  Rep Steel’s timely legislation builds and expands upon our CECC hearing in June of last year, which alerted Congress and the international community to the immediacy of this humanitarian crisis. I join her in calling upon Congress to pass this resolution, and for the Administration and the United Nations – in particular the United Nations Commissioner for Refugees – to press Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party to stop violating  international law and human dignity, and to cease enabling North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s crimes against humanity.”

“The Berlin Wall may have fallen but there are still, tragically, more than 1.5 billion people suffering under the yoke of communism. As the leader of the free world, the United States has a responsibility and an opportunity to those oppressed by totalitarians wielding this evil ideology,” said Dr. Eric Patterson, President and CEO of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. “I am proud that Congress is standing with the downtrodden people of North Korea. We must remember, and stand with, the victims of communism with an eye toward a future of freedom.”

Read the full press release here.