H.Res. 376: Calling for the repatriation of POW/MIAs and abductees from the Korean War

H.Res. 376

Calling for the repatriation of POW/MIAs and abductees from the Korean War

Sponsor
Rep. Charles B. Rangel

Date
December 14, 2011 (112th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Tuesday, December 13, 2011, the House is scheduled to consider H.Res. 376 under a suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage.  The resolution was introduced by Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) on July 27, 2011 and referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Bill Summary

H.Res. 376 would: 

(1)   recognize there are American and South Korean prisoners of war and civilian abductees from the Korean War who are still alive in North Korea and who want to be repatriated;

(2)   call upon the United States Government to resume search and recovery operations in North Korea for remains of American POWs; 

(3)   recommend that the United States and South Korean Governments jointly investigate reports of sightings of American POW/MIAs; 

(4)   encourage North Korea to repatriate any American and South Korean POWs to their home countries to reunite with their families under the International Humanitarian Law set forth in the Geneva Convention relative to the treatment of Prisoners of War;

(5)   call upon North Korea to admit to the abduction of more than 100,000 South Korean civilians and reveal the status of the abductees; and

(6)   call upon North Korea to agree to the family reunions and immediate repatriation of the abductees under the International Humanitarian Law set forth in the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.

Background

The Korean War was initiated on June 25, 1950 with the invasion of the Republic of Korea by the communist North Korea.  Nearly 1.8 million members of the United States Armed Forces served in theater along with the forces of the Republic of Korea and 20 other Allied nations under the United Nations Command to defend freedom and democracy in the Korean Peninsula.  A ceasefire agreement was signed at Panmunjom on July 27, 1953, while the peninsula still technically remains in a state of war.

The majority of surviving United Nations POWs were repatriated or turned over to the Neutral Nations Repatriation Commission in accordance with Section 3 of the Armistice Agreement, but the United Nations Command noted a significant discrepancy between the Command's estimate of POWs and the number given by North Korea.  Today, the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) of the U.S. Department of Defense lists more than 8,000 members of the United States Armed Forces as POWs or missing in action who are unaccounted for from the Korean War.

Cost

There is no CBO cost estimate available for this bill.