North Korea continues to pose a threat to global peace and security, through both its illicit weapon’s program and its gross human rights violations. In a recent speech, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights, Democracy and Labor Tom Malinowski described how North Korea's human rights abuses and security issues are linked.
"Many of the country's human rights abuses underwrite the regime's weapons’ programs," he said, "including forced labor, through the mass mobilizations, political prisoners, overseas labor contracts, and food distribution policies that favor the military and lead to chronic malnourishment among its citizens."
The first step in addressing these linked issues is to make clear to the North Korean leadership that they will eventually be held accountable for their actions. "There are people within the North Korean leadership," said Assistant Secretary Malinowski," who recognize. . .that their prospects will be far poorer if they become personally associated with the worst aspects of the regime's repression, like the labor camps system."Furthermore, "To the men who are commanders of the camps, and their commanders, and other officials all the way up to the top, our message remains," said Assistant Secretary Malinowski: "We see you. We know who you are. We know what you are doing. Whenever possible, we will say your names out loud."
The second part of the strategy is for the U.S. and its allies to do everything they can to facilitate the flow of information to, from and among North Koreans. This can help to accelerate the bottom up trends already underway in North Korea that could lead to internal change.
Toward this end, the U.S. will continue its support of information programs which broadcast into the country. The U.S. will also explore new technologies that will help move information faster and safer to show the average North Korean that there is an alternative way of life where freedom of movement and freedom of expression are commonplace.
The U.S. will continue to seek opportunities to highlight the egregious human rights violations committed by the North Korean regime and do all it can to support and promote freedom for the people of North Korea.