August 19, 2011 09:15
The government and ruling Grand National Party have given in to demands from the main opposition Democratic Party to rewrite the North Korea human rights bill so it stipulates aid to the North. If the DP accepts the new version, the government and GNP plan to pass the epically delayed bill during the extra session of the National Assembly in August.
The bill, which mainly aims to help defectors from the Stalinist country, was tabled six years but delayed for fear that it could upset the North.
The new version includes a significant portion written by the DP. Article One says the bill's aim is to protect and raise awareness of the human rights of the North Korean people and to regulate the agenda related to aid to the North. The old version simply stated that the aim is to provide humanitarian support and to protect the human rights of the North Koreans.
Also, Article Three "confirms the basic rights of the North Korean people, including their right to life." "Right to life" is a term the DP uses to justify aid to North Korea.
A GNP official said the new version keeps the grounds for creating a North Korea Human Rights Archive that records North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's brutalities, and establishing a foundation to improve human rights in North Korea, which were "key portions" of the old version. "Since we decided to accept a large portion of the DP's demands, we expect them to cooperate in passing the new bill."
But a high-ranking Unification Ministry official said, "The government supports the original version and opposes the new bill the GNP created to bargain with the DP."
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