Wednesday, September 24, 2008

US Senate approves North Korea rights bill

The U.S. Senate has given final approval to legislation reshaping the job and duties of the U.S. human rights envoy for North Korea.The bill already has been passed by the House of Representatives.

It is raising the current envoy's position to a full-time job at the rank of ambassador and upgrading his authority.

The bill also urges the U.S. State Department to improve services for refugees from North Korea.

Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the bill's sponsor, noted Tuesday that the United States has resettled about 150,000 refugees since passage of the North Korean Human Rights Act in 2004. However, fewer than 70 of those came from North Korea, which Ros-Lehtinen described as "among the most cruel and inhumane" countries.


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