Press Release: Thursday, November 8, 2018
Senator Markey Urges Easing of Humanitarian Aid Restrictions to North Korea
Raises concerns that Trump administration’s policies are barring critical aid to children, endangering global health
Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Ranking Member of its East Asia Subcommittee, wrote to President Donald Trump today asking for clarity on the administration’s policy on humanitarian aid to North Korea. Recognizing the importance of maintaining direct pressure on the Kim regime to curb its illicit nuclear weapons program and human rights abuses, Senator Markey highlighted that current U.S. government restrictions on travel by American aid workers and activities of humanitarian organizations are preventing assistance from helping address a devastating humanitarian situation in North Korea. The United Nations estimates that 60,000 children are at risk of starvation, and cases of drug-resistant tuberculosis if left untreated could threaten to spread with devastating effect throughout the country and potentially into neighboring states.
“Although I firmly believe that the United States and others must maintain strong pressure on the regime of Kim Jong Un for its illicit nuclear weapons program and egregious human rights abuses, we must not let the selfless work of these organizations become collateral damage,” writes Senator Markey in his letter to President Trump. “Americans who are compelled by their faith or their conscience to provide assistance to those in dire need should not be unduly impeded by their government.”
A copy of the letter can be found HERE.
In the letter to the President, Senator Markey requests responses to questions that include:
- Has the U.S. government made a deliberate decision to restrict the ability of American NGOs to ship food and medical aid to North Korea?
- Is that reduction in food and medical assistance a part of the administration’s “maximum pressure” policy?
- Has the U.S. government made a deliberate decision to restrict the scope and number of humanitarian exemptions to the North Korea travel ban?
- Has the administration conducted an assessment of the risks of diseases, like TB, spreading in North Korea and to neighboring countries, if the U.S. restrictions on humanitarian assistance continued?