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U.N. rapporteur urges provision of vaccines to N. Korea

North Korea 09:48 March 18, 2022

SEOUL, March 18 (Yonhap) -- The U.N. special rapporteur on North Korea's human rights has repeated his call for the international community to send enough COVID-19 vaccines to the reclusive country, a report showed Friday.

Tomas Ojea Quintana described it as a "new way" to engage with the North in his report on its human rights situation to be submitted to the U.N. Human Rights Council next week, with his six-year term ending in August.

"A new way of thinking needs to take hold," the report read. "This can begin with an offer of 60 million vaccines to tackle COVID-19 as the gateway to broader conversations on capacity development, including on food production, healthcare, and water and sanitation to improve the capacity of the state to fulfill its human rights obligations."

He visited Seoul last month to gather information for the annual report. The North, which has a population of over 25 million, has yet to begin an anti-coronavirus inoculation program.

The report also noted "further deterioration" of the human rights situation in the North over the past six years, adding Pyongyang has failed to make "meaningful reform." It called on the nation to urgently invest available resources to ensure basic needs are met and to gradually open its borders.

In this file photo taken Feb. 23, 2022, Tomas Ojea Quintana, the U.N. special rapporteur on North Korea's human rights situation, speaks during a press conference in Seoul. (Yonhap)


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