Support humanitarian access to North Korea

Urge your senators to support humanitarian exemptions that enable life-saving aid to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea).

In recent weeks changes in U.S. policies have blocked the travel of U.S. organizations to North Korea to monitor humanitarian assistance. The U.S. government has an obligation under applicable UN Security Council resolutions to allow humanitarian access to the DPRK. It has been longstanding U.S. policy that humanitarian activity should continue even when diplomatic tensions rise.

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Background: The United Nations has issued warnings that 60,000 North Korean children are at risk of severe acute malnourishment, potentially leading to starvation, a crisis that is exacerbated by sanctions. Sanctions have also interfered with the timely delivery of tuberculosis treatments, potentially paving the way for an epidemic of a drug-resistant form of the disease.

The State Department has informed organizations like Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) that U.S. staff are now prohibitied from traveling to the DPRK as part of the “maximum pressure” campaign to push North Korea to denuclearize immediately. However, by blocking travel to DPRK, humanitarian organizations cannot adequately monitor the delivery of life-saving aid and it has prevented assistance to the most vulnerable people in North Korea. Longstanding humanitarian protections should be maintained and respected.

Faith Reflection: We should compel our government to consider the moral weight of decisions that cut off aid to those who desperately need it. “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Do not say to your neighbor, ‘Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it’–when you have it with you” (Proverbs 3:27-28).

Take action today! Urge your senators to to support humanitarian exemptions that enable life-saving aid for North Korea.

Write to your Senators

For more info, see: When pressure prevents life-saving aid | Summary of TB crisis in North Korea

Alert prepared by Charissa Zehr, Legislative Associate for International Affairs on October 15, 2018.

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