• search

North Korea weapons tests reduce food aid: UN

Written by: Staff

United Nations, Oct 24: North Korea's tests of unconventional weapons have contributed to a reduction of badly needed food aid, with international donors thinking twice about supplying goods, a UN envoy said.

Viti Muntarbhorn, the UN human rights investigator for North Korea told a news conference yesterday that the number of people getting UN food aid had dropped to 13,000 from 6.5 million a year ago. But much of this decline was due to restrictions from Pyongyang, which denied access and monitoring.

''The resources spent on arms would have been better spent satisfying the food security,'' he said.

North Korea tested seven missiles in July and then announced an underground nuclear test on October 9 after which the Security Council imposed sanctions but exempted humanitarian assistance.

''The missile tests had a negative impact on the food situation of the country, since they caused various contributors of humanitarian aid to discontinue providing that aid, while the nuclear test caused further insecurity in the region and beyond,'' said Muntarbhorn, a Thai law professor.

North Korea has still not recovered from famine in the 1990s that experts believe killed about 2.5 million people, or 10 per cent of the population. Floods earlier this year started a new round of scarcities.

A day after North Korea announced its nuclear test, the UN World Food Program warned that it could be forced to halt distributions as early as January without more donations.

Donors had committed only 10 per cent of the 102 million dollars the WFP sought last June for North Korea, with only Ireland and Australia contributing. South Korea and China send humanitarian supplies separately to North Korea.

Pyongyang last year ordered the WFP to change its emergency relief program to development assistance, barring it from most areas in distributing and monitoring that food went to the most vulnerable people.

Muntarbhorn's report to the UN General Assembly last week emphasized that Pyongyang locks up handicapped people in camps with harsh and ''subhuman conditions, categorizing them according to their physical disabilities.

Defectors from North Korea have testified ''without exception'' about the existence of collective camps where the handicapped are assigned according to their physical deformity or disability, he wrote.

Muntarbhorn, who was not allowed to visit the country, also said North Korea had to stop punishing returning refugees and that countries receiving them needed help.

Conversely, he said that receiving nations should not push the North Koreans back over the border but allow the UN refugee agency to deal with them. China regularly deports refugees.


Related Stories

Ban Ki-Moon heads to China for NKorea talks
ElBaradei warns of sanctions on NKorea, Iran

For Daily Alerts

For Breaking News from Oneindia
Get instant news updates throughout the day.

Notification Settings X
Time Settings
Clear Notification X
Do you want to clear all the notifications from your inbox?
Settings X
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. This includes cookies from third party social media websites and ad networks. Such third party cookies may track your use on Oneindia sites for better rendering. Our partners use cookies to ensure we show you advertising that is relevant to you. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on Oneindia website. However, you can change your cookie settings at any time. Learn more