The United Nations special rapporteur for human rights in North Korea, Thomas Ohea Quintana, reiterated the need to reassess and ease sanctions against North Korea, citing the economic hardship of North Korean residents in due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the US State Department rejected his argument, making it clear that it is the responsibility of the North Korean regime to have subjected its residents to hardships and adversities, drawing the line between the impoverishment of North Korean residents and any discussion of lowering North Korean sanctions.

Quintana announced on Friday (local time) a briefing on the key points of a report on human rights in North Korea following the COVID-19 outbreak during a press conference at the headquarters of the UN located in New York. He pointed out that exchanges between Pyongyang and Beijing and access to food ingredients, which are essential for the livelihoods of North Korean residents, have become more difficult since the regime faced sanctions in the internal community with its strict quarantine measures and closed borders.

There are growing concerns about North Koreans’ accessibility to food, he said, regretting that North Korean authorities have warned against shooting anyone who tries without permission. enter North Korean territory near the borders of North Korea and China without prior warning. . The UN special rapporteur also pointed out that North Korea is more closed and isolated than ever amid such a high level of closure, making it difficult to access any information on Korea’s human rights. North.

Quintana added that North Korea faces increased isolation over time, with the international community focusing only on pressure on the regime, causing unexpected results in terms of humanitarianism and human rights. He recommended to the UN Security Council to ease sanctions against North Korea if necessary, when it reviews the system against North Korea given the unique situation of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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