August 12, 2020
His Excellency Moon Jae-in
President of the Republic of Korea
The Blue House
Seoul, Republic of Korea
RE: Oppression of the North Korea Human Rights Movement by your administration
We the undersigned are writing you today as individuals who greatly value the friendship and the strong alliance between the people of South Korea and the United States of America, but we are deeply troubled by the actions of your administration aimed at undermining the North Korea human rights movement by targeting all the major organizations that work to help rescue, educate, protect and/or improve the lives of North Koreans. We represent individuals who have worked in the administrations of both Democratic and Republican Presidencies including former Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump, and represent nongovernmental organizations that span the political spectrum in the USA, but we are all united with this concern: it is the responsibility of the international community, especially the Republic of Korea, to uphold the human rights of the people of North Korea. As stated by the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the People’s Republic of Korea (February 2014): “The international community must accept its responsibility to protect the people of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea from crimes against humanity, because the Government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has manifestly failed to do so.”
In particular the UN COI recommended that China and all states: “Respect the principle of non-refoulement and, accordingly, abstain from forcibly repatriating any persons to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” and “that States, foundations and engaged business enterprises provide more support for the work of civil society organizations to improve the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, including efforts to document human rights violations and to broadcast accessible information into each country.
Unlike prior administrations in South Korea, your administration took the unusual step to forcibly repatriate two North Koreans to conditions of danger and has not only ended all support but discouraged support for the civil society organizations that work to improve human rights in the DPRK and advocate for defectors in South Korea. The announcement in July by the Ministry of Unification that it would conduct office inspections of 25 North Korean human rights and resettlement civil society organizations and demand an additional 64 accredited non-governmental organizations submit documentation is a chilling form of intimidation as they were all clearly targeted simply for their North Korea human rights work.
We respectfully request, as Americans who have a great respect for the people of Korea, that you reconsider your policies and do not again forcibly repatriate North Koreans to conditions of danger and that you review your policy of intimidating and harassing North Korean human rights organizations and instead help support their efforts to promote human rights for North Koreans.
Richard V. Allen, National Security Advisor for President Ronald Reagan and Deputy National Security Advisor for President Richard Nixon (helped rescue future ROK president Kim Dae Jung)
Roberta Cohen, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights in the Department of State’s first human rights bureau for President Jimmy Carter
Ambassador Robert G. Joseph, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security for George W. Bush
Ambassador Robert R. King, Special Envoy for North Korea Human Rights for President Barack Obama
Ambassador Winston Lord, Director of Policy Planning Staff at the State Department for President Gerald Ford and Special Assistant to the National Security Advisor for President Richard Nixon and Ambassador to China for President Ronald Reagan and President George H.W.Bush and Assistant Secretary of State for President William Clinton
Barton W. Marcois, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Energy for Policy and International Affairs for George W. Bush Administration
Honorable Tidal W. McCoy, Acting Secretary and Senior Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for President Ronald Reagan
Thomas C. Montgomery, Senior Vice President of Congressional Affairs at the Export-Import Bank of the United States for President George W. Bush
Andrew Natsios, Administrator, US Agency for International Development for President George W. Bush
Daniel Pipes, Policy Planning Staff for President Ronald Reagan
Gare Smith, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Democracy Human Rights and Labor for President William Clinton
Katrina Lantos Swett, Chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom during President Barack Obama’s Administration
Christian Whiton, Senior Advisor for Strategic Communications for State Department for President Donald Trump and Deputy Special Envoy for North Korea Human Rights for President George W. Bush
Nongovernmental organizations and private citizens joining in solidarity with the above signatories from the USA and Around the World:
Suzanne Scholte, President, Defense Forum Foundation
Tara O, President, East Asia Research Center
Dr. Jianli Yang, Founder and President, Citizen Power Initiatives for China
Nicholas Eberstadt, Henry Wendt Chair at the American Enterprise Institute (title for identification purpose only)
Greg Scarlatoiu, Executive Director, Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK)
Benedict Rogers, East Asia Team Leader, CSW-UK
Ann Buwalda, Executive Director, Jubilee Campaign USA Inc
Deanna List of Virginia, North Korean Freedom Coalition (NKFC) Member
Wendy Wright, President, Christian Freedom International
Patrick Cheh of California, President, Waking Up Media, Producer of Crossing
Atabongwoung Gallous of South Africa. Chairperson, NPO: Tibet Rescue Initiative in Africa; NKFC member
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