March 08, 2011 12:03
U.S. Senator Richard Burr on Feb. 28 introduced the North Korean Refugees Adoption Act calling for a comprehensive strategy on adoption of North Korean orphans abroad by American couples. "Developing a plan to help these children connect with loving families within the United States is something members on both sides of the aisle can agree upon," the Republican senator said. Not only Republican but also Democratic senators have signed the bill.
The act is the second of its kind. The last one was simultaneously filed in the Senate and the House of Representatives early last year by Republican Representative Ed Royce and Sen. Sam Brownback to step up humanitarian support for North Korean orphans adrift in third countries and promote adoptions in American homes.
In South Korea, a group of lawmakers led by Rep. Hwang Woo-yea of the Grand National Party in May last year introduced a revision to the law protecting North Korean defectors, extending beneficiaries to North Korean children with single parents from a third country. But the bill has yet to be presented to the standing committee.
A similar situation is developing with regard to North Korean orphans adrift in third countries as well. "No progress has been made with the two bills because the Democratic Party sits on its hands whenever issues involving North Korean human rights arise," Hwang said. The GNP is also not exerting itself. And the government has yet to produce statistics on North Korean orphans in third countries. Private organizations estimate there are about 15,000 of them.
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