North Korea sanctions must be lifted as food shortages loom, U.N. expert says

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North Korea’s most vulnerable risk of starvation after it was in isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic and the easing of UN sanctions imposed for its nuclear and missile programs, a UN rights investigator said in a report seen by Reuters. needed.

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UN Special Envoy on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Tomas Ojea Quintana said the deteriorating humanitarian situation could turn into a crisis and coincided with a Granthshala “creeping apathy” about the plight of the people of North Korea. .

He said in a final report to the United Nations, “The sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council should be reviewed and necessary to facilitate both humanitarian and life-saving assistance and to promote the right of ordinary citizens to an adequate standard of living.” It should be made easy when it happens.” General Assembly to be presented on 22 October.

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North Korea does not recognize or cooperate with Ojia Quintana’s mandate and its mission in Geneva did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Pyongyang’s government does not answer questions from foreign media.

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In June leader Kim Jong Un said the food situation was “stressful” due to natural disasters last year and acknowledged that citizens had made sacrifices during the pandemic. In April, North Korean officials called a UN report on child malnutrition an “outright lie”.

North Korea has not reported any COVID-19 cases and has implemented strict anti-virus measures, including border closures and domestic travel restrictions.

But many North Koreans dependent on commercial activities along the border with China have lost their income, and this has been compounded by the impact of sanctions, Ojia Quintana said.

“People’s access to food is a serious concern and the most vulnerable children and the elderly are at risk of starvation,” he said, adding that North Koreans are facing “fear of hunger and fear of COVID-19″. Don’t have to choose between.”

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“Essential medicines and medical supplies are in short supply and prices have increased manifold as they have stopped coming from China, and humanitarian organizations have been unable to bring medicines and other supplies.”

Ojia Quintana said most diplomats and aid workers have left North Korea amid strict travel restrictions and a lack of essential goods and health facilities.

He said progress in immunization, health of women and children, and water and sanitation is eroding.

“The current deteriorating humanitarian situation may turn into a crisis and should be avoided,” he said.

He also expressed concern that the growing challenges of accessing information are “leading to a creeping apathy in Granthshala attention to the deteriorating human rights situation out there.”

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Ojia Quintana called for easing military tensions on the divided peninsula and urged the United States and South Korea to “send a clear signal” to revive diplomacy aimed at securing the denuclearization of the North.

In recent weeks, North Korea has carried out a series of weapons tests, including ballistic missiles and a cruise missile with potentially nuclear capabilities.

Ojia Quintana welcomed last May’s pledge by US President Joe Biden and South Korean President Moon Jae-in to work to improve North Korea’s rights position.

“In any potential upcoming peace talks, the Republic of Korea and the United States must secure commitments with measurable benchmarks … to a meaningful process of engagement on human rights,” he said.

He said North Koreans are still lodged in political prison camps with their families, while some have been released from labor training centers due to unavailability of food and work.

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The camps, known as Quanlisso, whose existence has been denied by the state, could qualify as crimes against humanity, he said.

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