As Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I am actively involved in bringing attention to many of the unfortunate human rights abuses being committed around the globe. It is important that the international community keeps dialogue open on human rights issues and continues to shine the light on the regions of the world where human rights are not being respected.
Through my work on the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, I have had the opportunity to meet with many brave victims of torture. Many of these torture victims were leaders in opposition political parties, religious organizations, the media, as well as human rights and student organizations. They were struggling for human rights and democratic principles that embody the American legacy.
The House passed legislation that I co-authored to bring attention to the abysmal human rights record of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, a country known for not allowing freedom of expression. In an effort to promote religious freedom and democracy in Vietnam, the bill will prohibit non-humanitarian U.S. aid from being provided to Vietnam unless the Vietnamese government begins freeing political prisoners and respecting the rights of ethnic minorities. It will also support Radio Free Asia's efforts to overcome jamming efforts by the Vietnamese government, and work against the Vietnamese governments' recent crack down on Internet usage.
I am concerned about the growing North Korean refugee crisis and humanitarian disaster going on inside the country. I am the co-chair of the International Parliamentarians' Coalition on North Korea Human Rights and Refugees, and have been involved in calling attention to the plight of the refugees who are subject to some of the most brutal treatment imaginable. I also authored a resolution that passed the House calling on the Chinese government to honor its international obligations [the U.N. Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees of 1951] by providing asylum to North Korean refugees.
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