The UN Security Council (UNSC) on Monday backed a U.S.-proposed plan to streamline the process of obtaining humanitarian exemptions from international sanctions for aid deliveries to North Korea.
“We are glad that the Security Council agreed on the guidelines, and we hope they provide clarity on delivering humanitarian aid to the North Korean people without violating the sanctions,” the Netherlands’ deputy ambassador to the UN Lise Gregoire-van Haaren was quoted as having said.
“Our ultimate goal is the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and the sanctions are very important to that end.”
While many provisions in various UN resolutions contain humanitarian exemptions, some reports indicate the current measures can have an adverse effect on humanitarian aid work in the DPRK.
North Korea’s agricultural sector struggles to provide enough food for its population, and the country is also sensitive to droughts and floods.
Coupled with relatively low food imports from its neighbors, the DPRK generally suffers from chronic malnutrition and several UN aid agencies and NGOs work within the country to alleviate the problems.
A recent report from NK News found that sanctions had made elements of humanitarian work challenging in North Korea even if some organizations have been able to adapt to them.
The measures can also make moving money into the DPRK difficult, while trade restrictions prohibit the export of a wide range of machinery and electrical items to the DPRK.
“In all, the operational impact has so far been limited as we have managed to navigate the sanctions regime in place,” an NGO said in documents seen by NK News.
“The process remains however time consuming, and requires constant work on understanding the past and new regulations … We receive very little guidance on the sanctions regime in place, neither from our national authorities, or the United Nations or other stakeholders.”
Other aid workers in the country said the sanctions made it difficult to procure “items such as mobility and assistive devices (wheelchair, tricycles, crutch, cane etc.) and construction material for renovation.”
According to a report from AFP, a notice will now be sent to the 193 UN member states providing a “clear explanation” of the new measures which will “improve the delivery of humanitarian assistance” to the DPRK.
The move comes as the U.S. recently sought to remind countries to continue to enforce sanctions against the DPRK, while also last week separately issuing new designations against a Russian bank and a China-based North Korea front company.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
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Featured Image: End of Summer in LIC by john.gillespie on 2017-10-01 11:35:01