The University of Texas at Austin   School of Law

The Papers of George Lister: "Mr Human Rights"

  The Papers of George Lister > Korea

Korea

   

In a 1999 memorandum to then Assistant Secretary of State Harold Koh, George Lister wrote, ''I personally feel the South Korea story is an excellent example of how the human rights cause has helped to improve our overall foreign policy and to offer a much better future for the human race.''

Lister became involved in South Korean affairs through a relationship he developed with Kim Dae-jung, a Korean dissident who eventually was elected president of South Korea (1998-2003) and received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2000. In 1980, Kim had been arrested by the Korean army and sentenced to death by a military court. Through the intervention of President Reagan, his death sentence was commuted to 20 years in prison. Kim's prison sentence was suspended in December 1982, and Kim was exiled to the U.S., where he accepted a fellowship at Harvard University.

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Selected Documents:


   
     
Kim Dae-jung speaks to a Washington audience before returning to Korea, 1985
Kim Dae-jung speaks to a Washington audience before returning to Korea, 1985