During the press briefing outlining Russia’s program of work for their October Presidency of the UN Security Council, I mentioned the offer by Dr. Kee B. Park, Director of the Korea Policy Project at Harvard Medical School, and renowned Lecturer on Global Health and Social Medicine, who stated he is willing to address the Security Council and inform them of the horrifying human consequences suffered by the ordinary citizens of the DPRK, as a consequence of the sanctions that the Security Council is relentlessly and savagely inflicting upon North Korea. Dr. Park was born in South Korea, and at the age of ten years his family brought him to the United States, where he now lives. He is impeccably objective, and intimately aware of the devastation that these sanctions are wreaking upon the entire health care system of the DPRK, where he has helped, as a neurosurgeon, in several humanitarian organizations and programs.
Russian Ambassador Nebenzia immediately responded with profound and moving concern about this tragic situation, and emphasized that Russia has raised this issue for a long time, calling on the Chair of the Sanctions Committee of the DPRK to hold a briefing, which for some reason was postponed and postponed so, as Ambassador Nebenzia stated, “We have a debt that they owe us, and we want them to repay”! Ambassador Nebenzia stated that he has been approached by another distinguished scientist who is completely unbiased, and is very familiar with this problem, and confirmed that the situation is appalling, and completely unacceptable. Ambassador Nebenzia reiterated:
“Indeed it is!! I will approach the Chair of the Sanctions Committee, and tell him that there is a distinguished neurosurgeon willing to brief the Security Council. Please provide me with his coordinates.”
Ambassador Nebenzia continued:
“This is a problem causing great suffering in other countries in addition to the DPRK. The sanctions take a great toll on the general population in Syria. Our partners say these sanctions are very targeted, very refined, and do not harm the general population. This is disproved by numerous humanitarian actors, including even Western NGO’s, who are saying they are also victims of the sanctions, and state that the secondary effects of the sanctions cause many humanitarian providers to fear retaliation by the sanctions watchdogs of the Western countries that introduced them.”
Ambassador Nebenzia continued, stating that the Secretary-General called for a global ceasefire, and lifting of the sanctions. The General Assembly Omnibus Resolution on the 2030 Agenda contains a paragraph on the adverse effect of sanctions on achievement of the 2030 agenda, and this paragraph is a part of the Resolution.
In addition to the other brutal deprivations the general population suffers as a result of the sanctions, the sanctions deprive doctors of crucial medical equipment necessary to restore to heath and restore to life a huge number of citizens in the targeted countries, including the most vulnerable, the elderly, disabled, and women and children. I have also discussed this with Ambassador Olof Skoog, currently Ambassador of the European Union, formerly Ambassador of Sweden. Ambassador Skoog is also concerned about this situation, and one hopes he can awaken his colleagues to this emergency.
The great human concern about these egregious human rights violations caused by the Security Council sanctions, concern so eloquently expressed by the Russian Ambassador, is phenomenally important. It is in staggering contrast to the almost psychopathic indifference with which other Security Council Ambassadors have reacted when I mentioned the tragic human suffering caused by the sanctions.
Their indifference is both immoral and obscene. These Ambassadors whose lives are so privileged do not care if a human being in Pyongyang dies in agony because the Sanctions a white European supported deprived the people of the DPRK of the medical equipment necessary to cure his illness, and save his life. These sanctions constitute Crimes against Humanity, and one day a court of law may hold the Security Council accountable for these crimes. The Security Council is not above the law, and it behooves them to face the reality that they cannot continue imposing these genocidal sanctions with impunity.
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Carla Stea is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) and Global Research’s Correspondent at UN headquarters, New York.