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Human Rights Want to Continue Aid to North Korea


A prominent human rights group is urging the international community to continue aid to North Korea, despite the country's claim of a nuclear weapons test.

New York-based Human Rights Watch called on donors today (Wednesday) to distinguish between the North Korea government and ordinary people. The group says suspending food aid will only hurt the country's citizens.

On Monday, North Korea announced it had tested its first nuclear bomb. In response, South Korea said it is reconsidering its policy of engagement with the North.

Seoul has been a reliable source of aid for impoverished North Korea. But after Monday's announcement, South Korea suspended a delivery of supplies to help its neighbor recover from devastating floods. Seoul also suspended some aid after Pyongyang test-fired missiles in July.

The United Nations' World Food Program expressed concern last month that North Koreans could go hungry if the program does not receive donations to continue its operations there.

North Korea suffered a severe famine in the 1990s that experts say killed as many as two million people. That disaster was brought on by the collapse of Pyongyang's main donor, the Soviet Union, and from a combination of natural disasters and outdated farming methods.

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