'Widespread food shortages': UN human rights expert on North Korea's situation

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Jun 10, 2020, 04:26 PM(IST)

People visit the statues of former North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il to commemorate the 74th anniversary of the end of the Japanese occupation of Korea, in this undated photo supplied by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on August 16, 2019 Photograph:( Reuters )

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Quintana is a UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). He urged UNSC to "reconsider" the sanctions imposed on the country to ensure the flow of food supplies. 

Tomas Ojea Quintana, a United Nations human rights expert said that North Korea is facing a “widespread food shortages and malnutrition”.

Also read: South Korea to take legal action against defectors sending messages to the North

Quintana is a UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). He urged UNSC to "reconsider" the sanctions imposed on the country to ensure the flow of food supplies. 

“There have been reports of an increase of homeless people in large cities – including kotjebi (street children), and medicine prices have reportedly skyrocketed. An increasing number of families eat only twice a day or eat only corn, and some are starving,” he said in a statement.

The spokeswoman of the UN's World Food Programme (WFP), Elisabeth Byrs told that the humanitarian situation in North Korea "remains bleak" after 40 per cent of North Korea's need humanitarian aid. 

South Korea and North Korea relations have been deteriorating. Earlier, South Korea has said it would take legal action against two organisations that conduct sending propaganda and contraband into the North.

This has come in the aftermath of North Korea suspending communication hotlines with the South over such defectors.

North Korea gets enraged when the defectors in the South send material such as anti-North leaflets and rice - usually by balloon over the heavily fortified border or in bottles by the sea - and its media has in recent days denounced the "mongrel dogs" who do it.

(Inputs from Reuters)

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