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Impact On Kids Of North Korean Sanctions

UN’s Children Agency Cautions About The Impact On Kids Of North Korean Sanctions

New York, Oct 13 2006 5:00PM

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned today that any sanctions imposed against North Korea should be crafted to minimize the negative impact on women and children and called for a “child impact assessment” before the international community acts.

While acknowledging that sanctions are a legitimate “instrument used by the international community to promote peace and security….UNICEF’s concern is that whenever sanctions are imposed, they should be designed and imposed in such a way to avoid a negative impact on children,” UNICEF spokesman Michael Bociurkiw told a news briefing in Geneva.

“UNICEF believes there must be a child impact assessment at the point of which any set of sanctions are applied, and most importantly, constant monitoring thereafter to gauge the humanitarian impact,” he added.

The comments were made as the UN Security Council is considering imposing sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) for its reported nuclear test last Sunday.

UNICEF has been working in the DPRK with the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) and World Food Programme (WFP) and together had made “significant gains” over the last decade that might now be in jeopardy if there are an “serious interruptions” in that work, Mr. Bociurkiw added.

UNICEF and the WFP have provided minerals and vitamin-fortified food to 2 million children and 300,000 pregnant/lactating women. Vitamin A supplements and de-worming tablets have also been provided to 2 million children.

UNICEF has 10 international and 21 national staffers working in the DPRK, where rates of chronic malnutrition and underweight children remain high.

Approximately one third of mothers are malnourished and anaemic - a rate that has not improved since 2002 – and a lack of high-quality obstetric care contributes to a reported maternal mortality rate of 110 deaths per 100,000 live births.


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