June 07, 2021

HRNK Letter to The Honorable Antony J. Blinken

The Honorable Antony J. Blinken
71st U.S. Secretary of State

CC: The Honorable Philip T. Reeker
Acting Assistant Secretary
Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs

The Honorable Lisa J. Peterson
Senior Official for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights
and Acting Assistant Secretary
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor

Mr. Mark Libby
Charge d’affaires of the U.S. Mission to the European Union
Ms. Kami A. Witmer
Acting Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Mission to the European Union

May 25, 2021

Dear Secretary Blinken,

I am writing to you on behalf of the Board of Directors and staff of the Washington, D.C.-based Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK), ahead of the upcoming U.S.-EU summit in Brussels next month. We salute the Biden administration’s commitment to revitalizing the Transatlantic relationship and working in close cooperation with our allies and partners. We believe the upcoming summit would be an excellent opportunity for the United States and the European Union to discuss a coordinated approach to bring human rights, security, and denuclearization to the Korean Peninsula.

The United States and the European Union enjoy a strong partnership, rooted in shared interests and fundamental values, including freedom, democracy, and respect for human rights. Both are forces of good
on the international stage and can work together to strengthen the call for human rights and the rule of law. North Korea’s ongoing crimes against humanity and its disregard for a rules-based international order remain urgent and challenging. President Biden’s new North Korea policy, exploring diplomacy and a firm stance on human rights, denuclearization, and sanctions, has much in common with the EU’s policy of critical engagement towards North Korea. It would be a logical step to join forces and work together towards a breakthrough in North Korean human rights and denuclearization.

As you prepare for the U.S.-EU summit, we respectfully submit that North Korea should be on the agenda, and that a focus on North Korea’s human rights situation and the situation facing North Koreans seeking resettlement in South Korea and other countries would send a strong and vital message that the United States and our European allies have a strong and committed approach to upholding the human rights of those who suffer under regimes committing atrocities. As the United States and the European Union are looking for avenues of cooperation and ways to reinforce traditional multilateral diplomacy, addressing North Korean human rights could amount to a concrete case along the lines of such revitalized collaboration.

HRNK stands by ready to assist, if our expertise is needed. As the leading U.S.-based non-partisan, nongovernmental organization in the field of North Korean human rights research and advocacy, we have a strong commitment to upholding universal human rights values and improving the lives of the North Korean people. We thank you for your dedication to human rights and your service to our nation.

Thank you very much for your attention and consideration.

Yours sincerely,

Greg Scarlatoiu
Executive Director
Committee for Human Rights in North Korea