July 5, 2023

UN Security Council Sanctions Committee updates implementation notice for DPRK humanitarian exceptions

The United Nations Security Council recently adopted implementation assistance notice (“IAN”) No. 7 to update the humanitarian exceptions for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (“DPRK”) initially adopted on August 6, 2018.  The updated IAN provides an overview of humanitarian exemptions and offers guidance and recommendations to assist Member States and international and non-governmental organizations with the process of submitting humanitarian exemption requests to the 1718 Security Council Committee in accordance with relevant resolutions.

The UN confirms that a comprehensive humanitarian exemption mechanism exists under paragraph 25 of resolution 2397 (2017) reaffirming that several DPRK-related sanctions resolutions, including resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013, 2094 (2013), 2270 (2016), 2321 (2016), 2356 (2017), 2371 (2017), 2375 (2017) and 2387 (2017), were not intended to adversely affect DPRK civilians and their access to food and other humanitarian assistance programs and relief activities.  According to the IAN, the 1718 Committee may exempt any activity imposed by these resolutions on a case-by-case basis if the activity is necessary to facilitate the work on humanitarian organizations in the DPRK or their objectives.  However, the UN indicates that resolution 2664 (2022) provides an exception to the asset freeze imposed by paragraph 8(d) of resolution 1718 (2006), which was subsequently expanded by resolutions 2094 (2013), 2270 (2016) and clarified by 2270 (2016), that permits the provision of funds, other financial assets, economic resources and goods and services that enable humanitarian assistance or support activities that provide basic human needs by certain organizations.  In these instances, a case-by-case Committee exemption would not be required.  However, this exception only applies to asset freezes; therefore, a case-by-case Committee exception would be required to engage in activities prohibited by other measures imposed by the relevant resolutions.

To avoid any risk of diversion, the Committee encourages anyone interested in providing relief activities for civilian populations in the DPRK to provide the Committee, and its Panel of Experts, with specific information related to the relief to be provided, including the nature of the humanitarian assistance to be provided to the DPRK; an explanation of the recipients of the intended relief; and the planned dates, planned routes and methods of the transfer as well as a list of parties involved in the transfer of goods and services, and other relevant elements of the transaction.  The Committee also recommends that organizations make an effort to consolidate all shipments of goods into as few as possible, limiting shipments to three or less every nine months per project if at all practicable.  The UN also provides recommendations on how Member States and international and non-governmental organizations should route exemption requests to the Committee, engage in the Committee Approval Process, and other best practices to follow when providing humanitarian assistance to the DPRK.

UN Security Council Press Release | IAN No. 7: Guidelines to Obtaining Exemptions to Deliver Humanitarian Assistance to the DPRK