UNICEF on Wednesday said it was confident it can arrange and deliver humanitarian aid to fight tuberculosis and malaria in North Korea, despite claims from the DPRK that UN sanctions have hindered the delivery of crucial medicines made earlier in June.
On June 16, North Korean media reported on a statement from the country’s Foreign Ministry which outlined how the current sanctions regime hinders humanitarian efforts in the DPRK.
“The UNICEF country office in the DPRK ordered 24.4 tons of malaria mosquito repellent (Insecticide Residual Spray) from other countries in September 2016, but they were unable to sign a contract for the transportation of the goods as that would breach the UN ‘sanctions resolutions’,” the statement reads.
“The goods could never leave the place of origin and they have remained piled up in the warehouse for 9 months until today.”
The article also claimed UN sanctions had interfered with the delivery of X-Ray machines required to diagnose tuberculosis, the delivery of which had suffered a six-month delay due to UN Security Council sanctions targeting North Korea.
But a UNICEF representative told NK News that while all sanctions regimes did impact the timing of procurement and shipping of items that fall within categories covered by UN humanitarian exceptions, the actual process was more nuanced.
“Special requirements and conditions that are not particular to DPR Korea also apply to transporting some malarial insecticides, X-Ray machines, and reagents, as they are considered ‘dangerous goods’ according to international sea and air transport regulations (these are not related to the sanctions regime),” Chris de Bono, UNICEF Regional Communications Chief for the East Asia and Pacific region, told NK News.
“The need to source carriers and find routes that are approved for the transport of dangerous goods mean these humanitarian supplies often arrive more slowly than goods not categorized as dangerous for transport purposes.”
The UN stopped short of commenting on the accuracy of the North Korean Foreign Ministry’s claims, though did add the group had “procured and delivered X-Ray machines this year,” and that “stocks of malarial insecticides are on the way (to the DPRK).”
Following two nuclear tests last year, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) passed two additional resolutions intended to limit the North’s trade revenues that could fund its weapons programs. The new measures also added sporting goods to the list of luxury goods banned for export to the DPRK.
Edited by Oliver Hotham