A recent United Nations report on sanctions on North Korea details not only how the restrictions are implemented and evaded, but also highlights “unintended consequences” they are having on humanitarian programs in the impoverished nation.
The annual report, by a panel of experts, also recommended that the UN Security Council committee overseeing sanctions on North Korea review sanctions exemption requests for humanitarian efforts in a “time-bound” manner and the UN carry out an assessment of the humanitarian impact of sanctions.
“Despite the exemption clauses and the committee’s efforts, UN agencies and humanitarian organizations continue to experience unintended consequences on their humanitarian programs that make it impossible to operate normally in North Korea,” the report said.
The six main areas of concern are: delays in receiving exemptions; the collapse of the banking channel; delays in customs clearance; a decrease in willing foreign suppliers; the increased cost of humanitarian-related items and operations; and diminished funding for operations, the report said.
“These are negatively affecting their ability to implement humanitarian-related programs,” it said.
The panel recommended that discussions on humanitarian exemption requests “be time-bound” and that focus groups within the committee meet on a regular basis to examine humanitarian issues with a view to expediting the processing of such requests.
It also suggested that the sanctions committee publish “a whitelist” of certain nonsensitive items used in humanitarian operations and make efforts to streamline and simplify the application process, including by providing “greater flexibility regarding the technical specifications of planned shipments, the parties involved and the frequency of requests and submissions.”
“The secretary-general should request the secretariat to carry out an assessment of the humanitarian impact of sanctions in North Korea,” it said. (Yonhap)