Research in Brief

Making Use of Humanitarian Exemptions to Sanctions against North Korea in the Health and Welfare Sectors

  • Author

    Cho, Sungeun

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After having sought to little avail to ease the comprehensive economic sanctions the UN Security Council had imposed on it in 2016, North Korea faced a supplies shortage, what with a breakup in US-DPRK talks in February 2019 and the breakout of the global covid-19 pandemic in 2020. Following the covid-19 pandemic, in particular, North Korea closed its borders and repatriated all Pyongyang-based representatives of international organizations, choosing to isolate itself from the rest of the world. The self-imposed isolation of North Korea is known to have aggravated its supplies shortage.
The resumption of the long-halted humanitarian inter-Korean exchange is an urgent step to take for peacemaking on the Korean Peninsula and for ensuring at least a minimum standard of living for North Koreans. According to “The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021”, a report published by the UN Food and Agriculture Agency, an estimated 10.9 million North Koreans, or 42.2 percent of the population, were undernourished in the period 2018~2020 and an estimated 300,000, or 18.1 percent, of North Korean children five years of age or younger were stunted from undernourishment in 2020. The nutrition problem that North Korea has is one that requires a proactive approach, as it, in addition to being a matter of humanitarian concern for universal human rights, could, if left untackled, especially as regards children, well engender the problem of population quality in the event of an inter-Korean reunification.


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