This week is North Korea Freedom Week, a time to welcome refugees from North Korea who are gathering in Washington to share their stories and advocate on behalf of their friends and families still living there. These brave souls help us all remember the importance of improving the human rights situation of the North Korean people. The United States welcomes to Washington the United Nations Special Rapporteur for North Korean Human Rights, Vitit Muntabhorn, who is an important international voice for the needs of the North Korean people.
The State Department's Annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices notes that conditions in North Korea are dire: North Korea continues to restrict religious and political freedom, control information and its citizens' freedom of movement, exert widespread social controls, and allow trafficking in women and girls. The United States cares deeply about the plight of North Koreans who flee their homeland and will continue to work with international organizations and foreign governments to ensure their protection, including through resettlement in the United States.