Starvation in Eritrea – UK Government expresses concern and responds to of the targeting of the Red Sea Afar people during the COVID-19 pandemic; and food shortages in North Korea where 10.1 million people are estimated to suffer from food insecurity and are in urgent need of food assistance.
Baroness Sugg, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL5743):
Question from Lord Alton of Liverpool:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports (1) of widespread starvation in Eritrea, in particular in Southern and Northern Red Sea regions, and (2) that COVID-19 has been used by the Eritrean regime to target Red Sea Afar people. (HL5743)
Tabled on: 16 June 2020
We are concerned that the people of Eritrea are facing food insecurity as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 and the desert locust outbreak have impacted existing humanitarian need as a result of lasting effects of war and climate change. Humanitarian and development programmes in Eritrea are being adapted to address current food security challenges. DFID funds life-saving activity in Eritrea, including providing £4m to UNICEF in 2019-20 to help treat malnutrition in under-fives and provide access to safe hygiene and sanitation services.
We are also aware of reports that the Government of Eritrea is targeting the Red Sea Afar people during the COVID-19 pandemic. We raise our concerns about human rights in Eritrea with the Government at every opportunity, and we will continue to make clear that measures taken by them to tackle COVID-19 must be necessary, proportionate, time-bound, transparent and regularly reviewed. Eritrea remains a priority country for the FCO under our annual human rights reporting, and we will continue to monitor the situation there.
Date and time of answer: 24 Jun 2020 at 11:55
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Department for International Development, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL5450):
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the humanitarian situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea following reports by the United Nations of food shortages and malnutrition; what steps they are taking to provide humanitarian assistance which reaches those in urgent need; and what discussions they have had with the government of that country to urge it to use its resources to prioritise the feeding of its people. (HL5450)
Tabled on: 09 June 2020
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon:
We assess that North Korea’s humanitarian need is likely increasing as a result of the country’s border lockdown in response to COVID-19. The lockdown has prevented most aid shipments from entering the country since January and restrictions on internal movement, including for UN agencies and NGOs, has severely impacted the distribution of aid and support. The UN estimates that 10.1 million people suffer from food insecurity and are in urgent need of food assistance.
DFID is providing multilateral funds to the UN and other international organisations providing humanitarian assistance in North Korea, including the Global Humanitarian Response Plan (GHRP) in response to COVID-19. As a country of concern in the GHRP, North Korea is receiving funds from this global appeal. We continue to make clear to the North Korean government that international support is available, and urge them to restore international access and monitoring for humanitarian assistance. The UK has also repeatedly called on North Korea to prioritise the well-being of its people over the development of illegal weapons programmes, through our bilateral relationship and in multilateral fora.
Date and time of answer: 23 Jun 2020 at 16:03.