Students push North Korea human rights act

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Students push North Korea human rights act

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A group of college students meet with Grand National Party floor leader Kim Moo-sung, third from right, yesterday to urge that the National Assembly pass an act calling for human rights in North Korea. [NEWSIS]


The younger generation is getting serious about its concern over human rights in North Korea.

A group of 20-somethings met with Grand National Party floor leader Kim Moo-sung yesterday to urge the National Assembly to pass an act calling for human rights in the North.

“South Korea has seen great progress since the Korean War and has become a global leader in holding the G-20 Summit,” said Kwak Woo-jung, 25, who is a member of the Free North Korea Youth Forum, which was established last December.

“We have created this forum because we couldn’t take it anymore that [countless people] in North Korea have starved to death and their [lack of] rights and freedom are being taken for granted,” said Kwak.

The North Korean Human Rights Act is an law to enable governments to aid North Koreans inside and outside its borders more easily. It was first passed in the United States in 2004.

The act aims to grant humanitarian assistance to North Koreans, support grants to private and nonprofit organizations to promote human rights and overall democratic development within North Korea, make information more available in North Korea and help those who have fled the communist country.

Japan also has passed the act. The bill, though, has languished in the South Korean National Assembly for a year.

“We received 2,000 signatures from those who believe in the North Korean human rights law during an online photography exhibit,” said Myeong Hwa-yeon, a senior at Seoul National University.

A report on issues dealing with North Korean human rights was handed over to the GNP floor leader, along with the signatures.

“The North Korean Human Rights Act was pushed by the Grand National Party, but it was never passed because of opposition from the Democratic Party,” said Representative Kim. “We keep persuading the [Democratic Party] officials every time we see them and in my eyes, over half of them are in agreement [with the act]. But the act isn’t being passed because the lawmakers who are against it hold greater power. What you have brought here today brings us to shame; we will pass the act.”

The students peppered Kim with questions and remarks regarding the act for over an hour.

“The North Korean Human Rights Act is the least South Korea can do when thinking of the North Korean citizens,” said Myeong.


By Christine Kim [christine.kim@joongang.co.kr]


한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]

P세대 “북한인권법 통과시켜라”


“한나라도 민주당도 다 문제”…김무성 원내대표 “부끄럽다”
박인주 청와대 수석 만나선 “천안함 46용사 잊지 않겠다”

“지금 이 시간에도 북한 주민들의 인권 이 유린당하고 있습니다. 동일본 대지진에 국민 모두가 아픔을 나타냈는데 정작 우리 동포가 굶어 죽는 걸 모른 척해서야 되겠습니까.”(서울대 가족아동학과 4학년 명화연씨)

“청년들을 여기까지 찾아오게 만들어 부끄럽습니다. 내 임기 가 5월 3일까진데 그 전에 통과시키겠습니다.”(한나라당 김무성 원내대표)

18일 오전 국회의사당 239호 한나라당 원내대표실. 북한 주민들의 인권 개선과 인도적 지원 등을 골자로 하는 북한 인권법 제정을 촉구하는 대학생 9명이 김 대표를 찾아왔다. 북한인권동아리준비위, 숙명여대 북한인권동아리, 자유북한청년포럼 소속으로 천안함 폭침을 계기로 애국심(Patriotism)과 안보(Power n Peace)에 눈뜬 ‘P세대’ 학생들이었다. 이들은 일반 시민 2000여 명의 서명이 담긴 법 제정 촉구서를 김 대표에게 전달했다. 발의 후 1년째 법제사법위원회에 계류 중인 법안을 조속히 통과시켜 달라고 요청했다.

동아리준비위 대표인 명씨는 “민주당의 반대도 있겠지만 한나라당도 의지가 부족한 것 아니냐 ”고 했다.

김 대표는 “국민들이 국회에서 몸싸움이 벌어지는 것을 바라지 않기 때문에 설득의 과정이 필요하다”며 법안 통과를 위해 노력하겠다고 다짐했다. 김 대표는 학생들의 직설적인 발언이 이어지자 “ 세미나 같다”며 오찬 약속을 취소하고 점심식사를 함께했다. 학생들은 우윤근 법제사법위원장(민주당)과도 면담을 하고 법 제정을 촉구했다.

이날 청와대 박인주 사회통합수석은 ‘천안함 1주기 대학생 추모위원회’로 활동했던 대학생 15명을 청와대로 초청해 격려했다. 박 수석은 “P세대란 용어가 젊은 대학생들의 달라진 의식을 잘 대변해주는 것 같다. 이명박 대통령도 P세대를 언급했었다”고 말했다. 신보라 추모위 대표는 “연평도 사건 이후 천안함 사건도 북한 소행이란 인식이 대학가에 자리 잡았다”며 “46용사의 희생이 헛되지 않도록 더 열심히 활동하겠다”고 했다.

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