The UN special rapporteur on North Korea's human rights situation has reportedly called for UN sanctions on the North to be eased, citing worsening human rights conditions in the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Reuters, Tomas Ojea Quintana made the call in a final report to the UN General Assembly to be presented on October 22.
Ojea Quintana said in the report that sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council should be reviewed and eased when necessary to both facilitate humanitarian and lifesaving assistance and to enable the promotion of the right to an adequate standard of living of ordinary citizens.
He said that due to the North's border closures and domestic travel curbs, many North Koreans relying on commercial activities along the border with China have lost their incomes, and that has been compounded by the impact of sanctions.
Ojea Quintana added that many North Koreans are at risk of starvation and the current worsening humanitarian situation could turn into a crisis and must be averted.
In addition, he called on South Korea and the United States to send clear signals to revive diplomacy aimed at realizing the North's denuclearization.