The World Health Organization (WHO) has granted the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), one of the most brutal totalitarian regimes on the planet, a seat on its 34-member Executive Board.
The DPRK, also known as North Korea, is among the 2023 members, which include Rwanda, the United States of America, Belarus, Ukraine, and Afghanistan.
North Korea is slotted to have a seat on the Executive Board until 2026, according to the WHO. Dr. Jong Min Pak, the Director of External Affairs at the Ministry of Public Health in Pyongyang, North Korea, has been selected for the position.
“The Executive Board is composed of 34 persons who are technically qualified in the field of health, each designated by a Member State that has been elected to serve by the World Health Assembly,” the WHO says. “Member States are elected for three-year terms. The affiliations appear in the style and the language used by the corresponding member of the Board.”
International human rights lawyer Hillel Neuer commented on the development.
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“What this means is that one of the world’s most horrific regimes is now a part of a group that sets and enforces the standards and norms for the global governance of health care,” Neuer said. “It is an absurd episode for a key U.N. agency that is in much need of self-reflection and reform.”
“North Korea’s regime allows its people to die of starvation while they spend billions on nuclear weapons,” he added. “As a member of the WHO Executive Board for the next three year, Kim Jong Un will help set the agency’s agenda and implement its policies.”
“North Korea was elected, in a slate with the other nominees, by a secret ballot: 123 nations voting yes, 13 abstentions and 6 spoiled ballots; 35 countries were absent,” he continued. “Normally the elections are by consensus, but Russia challenged Ukraine’s nomination, and so a vote was held.”
“The right signal from the U.N. to the North Korean regime would be an overdue referral to the International Criminal Court, not an election to an organization that sets the standards for global health,” he remarked.
“The truth is that scores of North Korean regime actors, from Kim Jong-un to low-level guards, should be investigated and prosecuted for committing some of the most heinous crimes against humanity ever documented in modern times,” he said. “This is what the U.N. should be advancing.”
The World Health Organization has been scrutinized for its close ties to Communist China, which covered up the initial stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, potentially leading to hundreds of thousands of deaths.