House resolution urges N. Korea to close labor camps

By Yonhap
  • Published : Mar 8, 2018 - 10:13
  • Updated : Mar 8, 2018 - 10:13

WASHINGTON -- Two US lawmakers have introduced a resolution calling for the dismantlement of North Korea's labor camp system.

The document was introduced by Reps. Mike Conaway (R-TX) and Gerry Connolly (D-VA) on Monday, and details the human rights abuses committed inside the regime's labor camps.

The resolution particularly highlights deaths resulting from rape and forced abortions, citing a 2017 report on an inquiry into the crimes.

Rep. Mike Conaway (right), R-Texas (AP-Yonhap)

It calls on the North Korean government to "immediately cease" human rights abuses, release the 80,000-120,000 political prisoners, and allow the International Committee of the Red Cross to enter the camps to assist with their release and rehabilitation.

It also calls on the US government to continue to pursue sanctions against those responsible for the labor camp system while raising global awareness of the human rights abuses there.

The international community, meanwhile, should demand North Korea dismantle its labor camp system, create a special tribunal to investigate and remedy the regime's crimes against humanity, and impose sanctions on individuals responsible for them, according to the document.

"The deliberate, systemic human rights abuses coming out of the labor camps in North Korea are absolutely horrifying," Conaway said in a statement. "The crimes committed in the prison camps include murder, mass extermination, torture, sexual violence, and other inhumane acts.

"These conversations are incredibly difficult due to the gruesome nature of the labor camps, but it's up to us to shed light on these cruelties and take a stand against them," he said.

Connolly added, "Congress must come together with one voice to condemn North Korea's abhorrent labor camps. Our resolution sends a clear message to Pyongyang that we will not turn a blind eye to the atrocities and human rights abuses the regime has committed." (Yonhap)