[Al Jazeera] ‘Excessive’: North Korea’s COVID curbs blamed for food crisis

18 Nov 2022

On November 17, Human Rights Watch reported that North Korea has substantially ramped up border restrictions during the COVID pandemic, worsening severe shortages of food, medicine and other necessities. NKDB's Hanna Song spoke to Al Jazeera about similar findings in NKDB's research

"Hanna Song, director of international cooperation at the Database Center for North Korean Human Rights (NKDB), which was not involved in the report, said the findings mirrored other data, including the sharp decline in defections to South Korea, which fell from 1,047 in 2019 to just 42 so far this year.

“Using COVID-19 has been a great excuse for the Kim Jong-un regime to tell its people that they are protecting them, while actually just meeting their objectives of keeping the North Korean people isolated,” Song told Al Jazeera.

“That being said, NKDB has been able to see that the North Koreans are not completely closed off,” Song added. “In a survey that NKDB did with 399 North Korean escapees in September 2022, 71 people said that they had sent money to North Korea in 2022 and 87 people have had some form of contact with family members in North Korea.”"

You can read the full article on Al Jazeera website by clicking HERE

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