Our Voices

U.S. Senate Passes North Korea Sanctions Policy and Enhancement Act

(February 11, 2016 | Washington, D.C.)
Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights praised the Senate for passing the North Korea Sanctions Policy and Enhancement Act of 2016 with unanimous and bipartisan support. In response to the passage, Kerry Kennedy, President of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, issued the following statement:

“The human rights atrocities taking place in North Korea are some of the very worst in the world. Two years ago, a United Nations Commission of Inquiry reported that ongoing crimes against humanity in North Korea have no ‘parallel in the contemporary world.’ In practice this means that tens of thousands of people toil and die in political prison camps; crimes against women are common; and the children of women repatriated from China are often killed, out of concern that they may be part Chinese, in order to maintain a pure race. These crimes demand our strong collective response to ensure that the abuses end and those responsible are brought to justice. Yesterday’s strong bi-partisan and unanimous action by the Senate brings us one step closer to making that imperative a reality.”

Among other provisions, the bill will further limit North Korea’s access to the international financial system, seek to hold accountable North Korean officials responsible for human rights abuses, and target individuals involved in cyber-attacks against the United States. This bill, like the House bill passed in January, strikes the right policy balance of humanitarian concerns for everyday North Koreans by exempting food and medicine from the narrowly targeted sanctions and by providing humanitarian and national interest waivers.