UN Human Rights chief warns sanctions could add to the suffering of North Koreans

The United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights Affairs has asked the Security Council to account for the impact of economic sanctions on North Korea to minimize its influence on millions of impoverished North Koreans.

"Humanitarian assistance provided by UN agencies and others basically guarantee the lives of some 13 million highly vulnerable people, "Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein told members of the council via video message from Paris on Monday. "Sanctions will greatly hurt this important aid."

He cites one example of restrictions on international banking transactions, which hampers the ability of the United Nations to provide food aid, medical supplies and other humanitarian assistance to the nationals.

Al- Hussein informed the special session of the council that focuses on the human rights situation in North Korea. Despite objections from China, Russia and Bolivia, the meeting continued because of the support of a majority of council members.

This is the fourth year in a row that the council addresses the human rights situation in the country. This topic is usually discussed in other UN forums, such as the Geneva-based Human Rights Council or the General Assembly.

"The international security crisis on military action taken by the North Korean government can not be separated from the concerns about the human rights situation of ordinary people in the country , "said the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Monday (11/12). [sp/ii]