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North Korea Asks NGOs to Leave by Year’s End

Posted September. 26, 2005 06:15,   


Radio Free Asia (RFA), a U.S. broadcasting network, reported on September 25 that North Korea has requested some international NGOs in North Korea leave the nation by the end of the year.

Anne O’Mahony, the Asian regional director of Concern, an Irish NGO, said in an interview with RFA, “North Korea stated that it is time to end humanitarian aid and start development aid,” adding, “It demanded we withdraw our staff and stop operations by December 31.”

The organization has been engaged in food aid projects in North Korea since 1997.

She added that the government has offered to allow the organization to continue to operate its program if its operation is handed over to North Korean staff. But because any North Korean staff will be hired by the North Korean government, it is basically impossible to delegate the operation to them.

Patrick Verbruggen, co-director of Triangle Generation Humanitaire’s North Korea operation, said, “The North Korean government asked us a few weeks ago to evacuate our staff by the end of this year, without offering any reasonable explanation,” adding, “We can’t understand why they demanded we leave and switch to development aid.” The French NGO has been in North Korea since 1999 for food aid and sanitation projects.

Hyung-June Park lovesong@donga.com