Hotspot Micro-Report


North Koreans have faced food shortages since 1994, when Kim Jong Il’s government officially limited food consumption to one-quarter of the basic requirement per person.  The North Korean government’s hoarding of relief supplies in 1994 for party members and the military exacerbated famine conditions in areas that were deemed disloyal or unessential to the government.  Outside sources estimate that at least two million North Koreans have fallen victim to famine in 1994, dying from starvation, malnutrition and related diseases.  At a UNICEF conference in Beijing on May 15, 2001, DPRK foreign minister Choes Su-hon officially reported that 220,000 people had died of starvation alone from 1995 to 1998.  The established causes of the food shortage are threefold: (1) a series of natural disasters, including flooding, drought and massive tidal waves; (2) state-run economic mismanagement; and (3) loss of preferential trade with the Soviet Union and, to a lesser extent, China. Because of the difficulty of obtaining information from sources in North Korea, monitoring the country’s human rights violations proves problematic.


Evidence of Abuse and Danger
  • Exacerbated famine (CNN, BBC, etc.)

  • Killing of babies (Telegraph News)

  • Public executions (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  • Torture (Amnesty International)

Field Contacts Verification
  1. International Press/Media
  2. The UN agencies
  3. International Human Rights NGOs
  4. International Relief NGOs

International Contacts:

UN High Commission for Refugees
Office for Coordination Human Affairs
UN Secretary-General’s Office
UN Security Council
UN Ambassadors
UN Development Programme
UN Children’s Fund
UN World Food Programme

US Contacts:

State Department
State emergency task force
US Agency for International Development
Congress and Senate
Sub-committee and caucus-committee for human rights US embassy in Beijing

Foreign Ministries:

 Embassy of the Republic of South Korea
Embassy of Japan
Embassy of China
Embassy of Sweden
Embassy of Norway
Embassy of Finland
Embassy of the European Union
Embassy of the United Kingdom
Embassy of Canada
Embassy of Russia
Embassy of India
Embassy of Pakistan



Washington Post
Washington Times
New York Times
L.A. Times
Chicago Tribune
Associated Press
United Press International


International Crisis Group
Int. Committee for Red Cross
Medicins Sans Frontieres
Oxfam America
International Center (DC)
Amnesty International
Human Rights Watch
American Friends Service Committee
Nautilus Institute
Caritas Internationalis
European Community Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO)
World Vision International



Latest News Links

The Straits Times
July 20, 2003
“Chef dishes out the dirt on Kim”,4386,200575,00.html
July 20, 2003
“The Plight Of North Korea” 

Relief Web
July 18, 2003
“WFP Emergency Report No. 29 of 2003 (See the DPR Korea part)”

Relief Web
July 17, 2003
“Children of North Korea bear the brunt of political tensions” 

July 4, 2003
“Defector asks, ‘Step up pressure’-Says North was deterred by U.S. force”

June 28, 2003
“U.N. claims North Korea not starving”

The Star Online
June 27, 2003
“UN food programme says work in North Korea challenging”

Relief Web
June 24, 2003
“UNICEF Humanitarian Action: DPR Korea Donor Update 24 Jun 2003” 

June 23, 2003
“Gulag Nation-Unseen by the outside world, North Korea runs vast prison camps of unspeakable cruelty”
June 23, 2003
“North Korean Refugees Face Hardships Making New Life in South”

Relief Web
June 22, 2003
“Seoul earmarks $140 mil. for aid to N. Korea” 

Associated Press
June 18, 2003
“Shadow market economy thrives in anti-capitalist North Korea”
June 16, 2003
“N. Korean Refugee Problem Remains Serious”
June 16, 2003
“UNHCR says China may now be less tough on N.Koreans” 

Relief Web
June 13, 2003
“WFP Emergency Report No. 24 of 2003 (See the DPR Korea part)”|
June 13, 2003
“North Korea food shortages seen getting worse”
June 8, 2003
Famine-struck N Koreans ‘eating children’

The United States Agency for International Development
June 5, 2003
Testimony of Andrew S. Natsios, Administrator, USAID


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