UN investigator: 11 million North Koreans are undernourished

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. independent investigator on human rights in North Korea says food insecurity in the country “is at an alarming level,” with nearly half the population — 11 million people — undernourished.

Tomas Ojea Quintana told the General Assembly’s human rights committee Tuesday that an estimated 140,000 children are suffering from “undernutrition,” including 30,000 who “face an increased risk of death.”

Quintana says North Korea’s government has primary responsibility for ensuring the right to food and “is violating its human rights obligations due to its failing economic and agricultural policies.”

In addition, he says, “climate conditions, infertile land, natural disasters and the negative impact of sanctions have contributed” to food insecurity.

Quintana says he has not seen any improvement in human rights in North Korea in the last three years.

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