tv Former First Lady Laura Bush Discusses Human Rights in North Korea CSPAN December 27, 2016 10:06pm-10:49pm EST
action to incapacitate a totalitarian regime and has the potential to hit the united states, i think the american people would not prefer that it would certainly supported. in other words, there first choice would be to support it as opposed to being vulnerable to a ofman's missiles kind nuclear weapons. >> it is fun to do a panel with the very best people in the field. so, thank you. >> thank you. [applause] announcer: now the former first lady laura bush talks about the rightsof the 2004 human act. she is talking to people who are telling their story of moving to the united states.
event. a 30-minute long >> good morning. i am the chief operating officer firm, aital management family office based in new york city. i also serve on a boarded north korea. an organization that helps north koreans escape to freedom. this is in issue near to my heart. in 1947, my grandmother, then a 27-year-old single mom and my mother, then a five-year-old girl began a long, harrowing journey to escape north korea. covering 200 miles over 21 days in moving about only in darkness to avoid contact with north korean police and soldiers.
they miraculously arrived in seoul, korea. overwhelmed it also overjoyed he and thankful. they donated all of the money in their position to a local church and started their lives over from the bottom. they faced many challenges that they were inspired -- they would have been inspired by the following words from mrs. bush. literacy builds the foundation freedomedom of poverty, of disease, and freedom from oppression. my grandmother self-taught how to read and lead. she saw opportunities and became a professor of nursing, serving countless children, students, patients, and it elderly citizens. they also provided me and my brother with a foundation from
fromom -- for freedom poverty, disease, and oppression. it has been my honor and joy to have been part of the conversation with the wonderful staff at bush institute in also like-minded koreans and other americans in helping our north korean friends build the same foundation for freedoms that would unleash their own opportunities, dreams, and potential. to that end, i am delighted to introduce mrs. bush at -- who helping instrumental in to get freedom for women and children around the world through education. ladies and gentlemen, please welcome me in introducing mrs. laura bush. mrs. bush: thank you all. thank you, jensen. thank you for introducing me and
thank you for telling the story of your courageous grandmother and mother. refugee stories like yours and fire all americans. public opinion research the bush by institution show 70% of americans are aware of the human rights abuse in north korea. percent ofme americans believe it is important that we help refugees from north korea. but what few americans know is that there is already a small but growing community of north korean refugees living right here in the united states. in 2004, president bush signed the north korea human rights act into law. that legislation supported information tog north koreans. even though north koreans are at
risk, they still seek news, andn, entertainment from foreign radio, television, and other sources and we believe they have the right to receive it. the north korean human rights law led to the creation of the office of the special envoy for north korean human rights. ambassador bob king has done a terrific job to ensure that american diplomacy to give north korea be attention it deserves. thank you, bob, for your service. most of portly, the north korean human rights law created a pathway for north korean refugees to seek asylum in in the united states. men women and children have traveled to the united states for a chance at a new life. think for a moment about the journey we just witnessed in the video. you are living in the most populated country on earth and
you make the decision to escape. you know you might be caught, arrested, or executed. you illegally cross to china where you risk being deported back into north korea. if you're a woman, you might become a victim of trafficking, marriageostitution, or against your will. you journey across china to another country in southeast asia and if you are lucky to make it that far, you face a choice. the only reasonable option is going to south korea where the language and the culture are familiar but a very brave few make the decision to come to america and as you will hear in a moment, they are remarkable men and women. like any refugees though, they face countless challenges. refugees typically seek about six months of formal support
upon arriving in the united states. they are guided as they look for a place to live and a first job and they are taught some of the basics on how to navigate life in america. but then refugees are expected to make it on their own. over the last two years, the bush institute has conducted two studies of north koreans living in the united states and what we found was encouraging. although it is difficult, most north koreans are adjusting well. they are working in some cases multiple jobs and providing for their families. when we asked them about their dreams and goals, several spoke of their desire to improve themselves through education. what they find it difficult because of education and their own commitment to family and work. at the bush center, we want to
help these refugees on their path to success and i am pleased to announce the scholarship in programs for north koreans living in the united states. we have worked with people around the country, especially in the korean-american community to raise money to kickstart the fund. nearly $300,000 has been raised for the scholarship, supposed -- surpassing the original goal. they can see to study at accredited for your universities, community colleges, as well is that trading and for occasional programs. can be submitted as january 2017 and the first awards will be announced this spring. we look forward to working with our neighbors at the community foundation of texas which will house and manage the fund. the bush center is proud to work with leaders in the korean-american community on this important initiative.
as you will hear in the next panel, many refugees are already working to educate the public about the realities and north korea. by standing with them we can help prepare the refugees to be ambassadors for the north korean people and to the voices for those who remain trapped beyond the iron curtain. you who haveall of supported this effort. now we invite others to join us. the success of these brave men and women brings us closer to the day when all north koreans can live it in freedom. thank you. [applause] announcer: please welcome our second panel. garson.d by michael
>> now our discussion turns to the human dimension in these global events. i was often with george bush in the oval office when he mixed and -- met with dissidents refugees from north korea. started stiffing in formal, it can be intimidating to meet the president's of the united states. at the end of every meeting, the dissidents, defectors, and refugees knew the president was on their side. i remember one meeting with church leaders. at the end, the president prayed with them and said, now when i hear about human rights in china i will think about you. these frequent meetings gave the a human face.y that is part of what we are
doing today. we have two of the most outspoken escapees living in the united states. the topic ofember the second study released today based on the lives and struggles of north korean escapees living in the united states. one way we can demonstrate a commitment to human rights in north korea is to support those who escaped it. many of them hope to return someday to a free and united korea. , grace escaped from north korea after the great famine in which her family suffered unspeakable horrors. grace was expatriated twice but pursued her freedom with tenacity and courage. .ow she has built a life
her sister is with us in the audience today. joseph was armand and -- orphaned in the great famine and left for himself and escaped to china where he was connected with the christian community and he eventually came to the united states as a refugee. now he is at college finishing eight degree. a remarkable story of success. honor a special envoy for north korean special rights. for three decades he is been a tireless and effective advocate american rights in foreign policy including his time working with a remarkable and much missed tom. ambassador king has done as much as anyone to raise the profile in our government. .lso joining us
joseph, why did you decide to to america? a place where you had to learn a new language and navigate a strange culture? tell us how and why you came. joseph: sure. i think there are a few reasons. one was i was helped, assisted american ngo and a nonprofit organization based in america. the person who came to ask me led me to a consulate in china and lived in america. so i thought going somewhere where a new no one versus going to america where a new one person. [laughter] joseph: so that is one reason. , at thewas waiting
american consulate in china, i watch opportunity to dramas and i learned much about south korea through dramas and one thing i areized was south koreans highly valued english-speaking individuals for hiring for jobs. that end it was one part of it. which, later on i realized how complicated the issue of i guess wash korean government which did not really want some north korean going to america, choosing to go to america, because i guess the definition of "refugee" complicates the
issues. sendingrrassment that , ith koreans to the u.s. think it is not something that should be embarrassed about. the south korean government has done a great job. you know, i think it is something they should have not and i wasrassed about having an interview and they asked me, why do you want to go to america and i said, i want to have freedom. at the time, i did not even know what freedom means and i am still processing it. asked, doesn't south korea also have freedom? that is something i did not think about. [laughter] joseph: but there was some tension.
i just did not feel like being korea.to go to south i said i am not sure why you keep asking me but like, you what it is the opposite of you are asking. laughter] host: grace can you address the same question? the story of how you got here and why. myce: first of all, it is greatest honorable moment today in my life. instituteou to bush and president bush for helping korean refugees, myself included. our three reasons for me to come to america, first family. i lost my father, my
grandmother, two younger brothers and my oldest sister in north korea i during the famine. and my mother, in the audience, she also had a lot of torture .nd hardship in north korea so, first the decision was made by my mother. she decided to come to america right after president bush assigned in 2004 and korean-american mischer -- korean-american missionaries. philip buck in seattle, he bought the korean newspaper and helped us to read that. my mom read the newspaper and she changed her decision because day, we were supposed to depart from china to south korea but she changed her decision to come to america.
the pastor, he actually tried to convince us it doesn't mean you can go to america right away and so we do not know when we have opportunity to help you go to america but my mom kept her decision and then we stayed in china and after many years we were able to come to america with the u.n.'s help but the biggest reason is my mom did not wet to go to korea because lost our family had north korea and we know the north korean like very -- how can , very coup -- like
system in north korean government. so we try to get away from that system. there are a lot of north korean spies in south korea and we also north in china that korean refugees going to south korea were going to an apartment and many north koreans lived together. similar, northle korean communities, to move to south korea. so my mom, well, i don't want to live the north korean lifestyle anymore. she wanted to have a very different life and that is why she chose america and the second reason is at the similar time we read another news article mentioning about a 60-year-old run mother who went back to high school and then she pursued her
education and graduated high school at 60 years old. so my mom said, in asian culture we do not have that kind of opportunity once you are of an in america you have an opportunity to study so it is very important for you guys to go to america and get your education. so that is the second reason than the third reason i can add is our family came to china, lived there for 10 years, back repatriated because we do not have any relatives in china, south korea, or the u.s. but the korean missionary, he was the one who helped us to get to live in america so it is a little easier for us to choose america because we know him like joseph said. host: ambassador, since the united states released its
commission and core reported in 2013, it seems there is a greater level of awareness and on north korean rights. are you seeing traction at the united nations with our allies? >> i do not think there is any question that has been the case. create then to commission of inquiry in 2013, the reports came out in 2014, began a great year of tension. one statistic mrs. bush mentioned that i was particularly interested in. 70% of americans are aware of the human rights probe -- problems in north korea. a lot of that had to do with an inquiry headed by an australian court justice, headed i and indonesia former prosecutor general, a civil society leader from serbia.
the three of them did a mega job not only of writing a report of creating news information about what was going on in north korea regarding human rights and i think raising that profile has been important. the united nations has been an important effort in raising the profile of human rights. at the time, the north korean human rights act was passed in 2004, the united nations at that time the human rights commission had adopted the resolution criticizing north korea for its human rights record. we have continued through the human rights council to adopt with overwhelming votes resolutions critical of the north koreans every year since that time. we have been able to raise the issue in general assembly as well with a resolution on the verge of being passed this year 14th time.h or
we have adopted a resolution of the general assembly and in the last two years with unable to raise the issue with the north korean security council in we will be doing that again sometime in the next couple weeks where we will again raise this issue. there is growing support and growing concern on the part of countries around the world with the human rights situation in what werea and i think have done has been helpful and not regard. i want to mention a particular the bush institute efforts in terms of raising this issue with the reports they published. extremely well done and helpful. particularlyng helpful is the effort to do something by raising the funds and providing programs that will create opportunities for north korean refugees that come to the united states.
they deserve a great deal of the credit as well. host: you are both students. has it been easy to pursue your studies? what challenges are you facing? grace: for me, the biggest challenge in the beginning was learning a new language. thirdk english is my language but still i had a lot of hard time to understand some it washers lecture and very hard for me to express my thoughts as well. so i had a hard time. the most hard times i felt was as a family member. i was the first person who can
learn english and be able to speak a little bit english and so i had a lot of responsibility on my shoulders to make a choice for the family or like, translate the english version two korean for my family and help my mom decide and choose the choice so making a choice hard things for me. mean, i came without knowing any english but luckily i was placed in an american family where i was forced to learn english. i think it was better in that case. i went to an american high school. classes andking finished in four years and why the time i finished high school i felt almost like i could speak english.
decided toschool, i go to a community college in new york city and i did not feel lack of like -- i felt confident in my conversation level of english. that after alize transfer to four years, i guess i justeducation, i think started to realize that there is definitely a different between andersational english proper english. i just got to learn conversational english to express myself and feelings and even write some short essays but going to college it was word.tely a different
my first assignment, i was asked the difference between wisdom and knowledge from 5-10 pages. first of all, do people actually write 10 pages? [laughter] joseph: even when i go to like dining rooms with my friends, they would start asking like, by the way what did you think about the view of human nature? and i would say, i don't even know who that is. definitely the different stagess from different but what i can say is i think even know the challenges of learning the which and cultures, guess those challenges were great in the sense i did not know what to do but i think at the same time our desire to help and change our motherland one day to help make
asetter place is as great the challenges we face and i think we were able to overcome those challenges for many of us. so i think in terms of like learning language and culture, i andk the time and process motivation but i see one thing that has started for common losing north korean refugees for students in the united states is financially it is hard and definitely one of the biggest constraints because you don't or theknow the course newest information about different scholarships. we don't know how to apply them so the lack of information i
think that is one thing that is so challenging for us. for me, i have been lucky in the sense that i have been granted college expense so i have been lucky but i also know students,e time the it is not same or greater capacity of i that i also or they are waiting to be pursue their dreams but desperate to pursue but that is why i think i was really grateful and glad that the bush institute initiated scholarship program for the north korean defectives and that is something really needed for our community and for the north koreans.
host: ambassador, how does north korea react to human rights? are they increasingly sensitive? do they ever change their behavior based on criticism? : the northking koreans and south koreans are in an interesting place. both governments claim to be over the area. what you have is to read genes that are very different. very, regimes that are very different. south korea's two times as large as north korea. the number of cell phones in south korea, 1.3 per porcelain. -- per person. don't ask me why that one third is so important. it has beenea, sanctioned by the united states
frequently and at the same time former foreign a minister who is the secretary general of the united's nations. year, one was president of the human rights council so these two countries are vying for legitimacy to make the claim that they are the government of all korea. in a real bind because it has very little to make that claim in and i think with regard to human rights, and the north koreans clearly are sensitive about what has been going on. they made they suggestion about the north korean progress on areas not sensitive politically dealing with the issue of for example, people with disabilities.
the north korea human rights council announced they had signed the convention on people with disabilities. they had made progress working with non-governmental organizations to work with people with disabilities. when the british hosted the olympics four years ago there were a couple of south korean disabled athletes who .articipated so, the north korean are sensitives but the problem is the political system, they are not ready to go far in terms of allowing access to information or critiques of the government willing to go a little bit but not all the way. we need to push them because their are areas where they are vulnerable on human rights issues and we need to question that. called nke is a group
in the usa. right? were you afraid initially to speak out? and, why is it important for north korean escapees to tell their stories in public question -- why is: -- there's it important for north korean escapees to tell their stories in public? grace: we are afraid to speak out to the public for many reasons. of fourst to be afraid our relatives or long-distance family members still living in isth korea but our mission the fight because we are survivors and believe in the free country and are enjoying this freedom. but we do not want that to fall into our suffering.
want people to know it from the world and so we want people to hear our stories in trying to help north koreans who are still suffering in north react and the most difficult thing for my sister and i to at night weries is still think about our family members who passed away and we for peoplethe world to know about this before. we can do something to prevent this kind of tyranny and the world. family members and others, like 300,000 people, those are individuals. like my younger brothers. they should not have to die.
i strongly believe that during , some did not even know about the holocaust but later on found out and tried to find him but the current holocaust is happening in north and weo we have to face have to open our ears to trying to stop this more tragic tyranny. our is why we feel this is mission and important for us to tell our stories. [applause] >> closing out. what do you intend for the future and how to get there? >> yes and no. i am not sure.
i think the problem is we see many different tests. i have a hard time choosing. it changes every day. it is like working. i feel like maybe i should've started in government to make artisan recommendations and sometimes i think of other things. like going to south korea. yet, i think it changes every time. it should be fine while i am in --lege but in terms of my when i'm in my 50's or 60's, then i will know what my dream is. laughter]
joseph: i think, i hope by the time i am in my 50 plus i do not have to worry about human rights issues in the world but also in north korea mostly. for that reason, i hope i do not have to think about the difficult and challenging policies but also plans. experts and others dealing with this. hopefully by the time i am 50-years-old, i will be at a high school or college setting where i can use my intellectual with moral help kids and political philosophy and i think i would be happy talking to students. host: grace, what are your goals for the richer?
and themerican culture ourrs, it is changing angles every day but originally and recently i found out -- i work at a dental offices in assistant and every day i see our doctors performing surgery on our patience. i feel very happy when i see those patients come back to our center. their appreciation to our also think about all of north korea. we do not have a lot of medical treatment and dental treatment and before i never thought about dental treatment so maybe this is a good way to pursue my goal .s a dentist once north korea-south korea get
go to, maybe a chance to north korea and help elders and children. current goal of dentists. applause] host: thank you for your service and i really want to thank joseph and grace for your grace and example of an pursuit of freedom. it is really inspiring. inc. you so much. [applause] -- thank you so much. [applause] announcer: c-span washington journal, live every day with news and policy issues that
impact you. coming up, congressional reportersnd news discuss the record of the men donald trump has passed to lead energy, and interior department as well as the transition taking place in those industries departments. also, drilling restrictions under president-elect trump and then nicholas lawrence, economic study fellow from the heritage foundation and another lead a conservation voters government affairs look ahead at engine -- energy policy during the first 100 days of the trump administration and beyond. the sure to watch c-span's "washington journal" wednesday morning starting at 7:00 a.m. eastern. join me discussion. theuncer: orientation at
u.s. capitol. here is a look. floridalican representing the 18th district, what were you doing before? >> before running this race i was working with federal agencies. before that, eight military career. host: what was your work encounter terrorism. explosived as an specialist working on issues of nonproliferation in nuclear terrorism and i worked teaching some classes on homemade explosions and basically continued to provide my expertise as a bomb technician which is how i spent my career in the military. >> how did you start your career? i was a combat engineer. you do de-mining and other work.
i have a propensity and i begin as a bomb technician. eod is they call us. technician at the highest level. it is different than movies people see where you are using a bomb suit or robot or something like that. we're going out after targets which means you are disarming bombs, tripwires, things like that. >> tell us what happened in 2010. rep elect mastiff: -- rep .-elect. mast: i calculated there had to be an explosive device and told my men to wait while i checked it out.