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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

North Korea: Denuclearization Talks and Human Rights

Thursday, September 13, 2018 - 2:00pm
2255 Rayburn House Office Building


Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission (TLHRC) for a hearing on the importance of incorporating human rights into a credible, verifiable denuclearization deal with North Korea.

North Korea’s systematic, egregious human rights violations are well-documented. The people of North Korea continue to suffer under the government’s policies of arbitrary detention, torture, extrajudicial killings, human trafficking, and forced abortion, and due to the regime’s complete disregard for freedom of speech, religion, assembly, or movement.

While speaking out against North Korea’s oppression of its own people, the United States has long prioritized efforts to curb North Korea’s nuclear aspirations. At the Singapore Summit in June 2018, President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un engaged in negotiations towards a broad agreement that would protect the security interests of both countries and create sustainable peace in the region.

As negotiations continue, what role should human rights play in these talks? Rights advocates argue that incorporating human rights indicators into a deal between the two countries is critically important both as a measure of good faith from a regime that has proven impossible to trust, and because a country that perpetrates crimes against humanity will continue to breed global instability. Witnesses will discuss why human rights are strategic for ongoing engagement, how they are linked to international security, and will offer recommendations to Congress on what integrating human rights into the security discussion could look like in practicality.  

The hearing is open to Members of Congress, congressional staff, the interested public, and the media. The hearing will be livestreamed via the Commission website, and will also be available for viewing on House Digital Channel 52. For any questions, please contact Jamie Staley (for Mr. Hultgren) at 202-226-1516 or or Kimberly Stanton (for Mr. McGovern) at 202-225-3599 or

Hosted by:

Randy Hultgren, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC
James P. McGovern, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC

Opening Remarks


Panel I

  • Greg Scarlatoiu, Executive Director, Committee for Human Rights in North Korea
    Written testimony
  • Victor Cha, Senior Adviser and Korea Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies
    Written testimony
  • Roberta Cohen, Human Rights Specialist and former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Rights at the Department of State
    Written testimony





115th Congress