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Report says, India violated UN Security Council sanctions on North Korea

A UN official told IANS that sanctions monitors had given India details on how various countries had dealt with the definitions of materials in the sanctions as well as the World Customs Organisation's codes identifying the products.

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In contrast to its dealings with North Korea, India has in other cases strongly supported strict implementation of Council sanctions and in some cases called for more stringent actions, especially relating to terrorism, and criticised countries opposing those restrictions.
North Korea Map, Pixabay

India violated the UN Security Council sanctions on North Korea last year, sometimes even going against its own government orders, by importing metals worth $2.2 million and exporting jewellery valued at more than $578,000, according the UN panel monitoring the sanctions. Some of the imports and exports continued even after the Indian government issued a notification banning them in March last year.

The panel of experts established by the Council said in a recent report that it found that between January and September last year India had imported iron and steel valued at $1.4 million, iron and steel products worth $234,000, copper worth $233,000 and $526,000 of zinc, ignoring the sanctions.

India also exported jewellery worth $578,994, which included diamonds valued at $514,823, between January and June.

A UN source familiar with its sanctions monitoring told IANS that India had not provided details about the importers and exporters and the report relied on trade data compiled by the UN and proprietary information from organisations that gather commercial information on trade.
Representational Image, Pixabay

“All exports (from North Korea) after 4 September 2017 violated paragraph 8 of resolution 2371 (2017), while those before 4 September 2017 violated paragraph 26 of resolution 2321 (2016),” the report said.

Those resolutions demand that countries prohibit the import of iron and iron ore from North Korea.

A 2013 resolution expressly banned export of precious and semi-precious stones to North Korea.

In contrast to its dealings with North Korea, India has in other cases strongly supported strict implementation of Council sanctions and in some cases called for more stringent actions, especially relating to terrorism, and criticised countries opposing those restrictions.

The iron imports continued even after March last year when India’s Directorate General of Foreign Trade imposed restrictions on importing iron and iron ore from North Korea, even as it said the sanctions lacked clarity, according to a note from India’s UN Mission to the sanctions panel last July.

“Pending clarity on this issue, national implementation of the measures contained in UNSC resolutions 2270 (2016) and 2321 (2016) relating to iron and iron-ore was nevertheless carried out by Government of India through a notification issued by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) on 21 March 2017,” it said.

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The identities of those who imported from North Korea or exported to it were not included in the report and it is not known if the Indian government took action against those who made the imports in violation of its orders in March or if an investigation is under way.

A UN source familiar with its sanctions monitoring told IANS that India had not provided details about the importers and exporters and the report relied on trade data compiled by the UN and proprietary information from organisations that gather commercial information on trade.

New Delhi reiterated its commitment to implement the sanctions in a report India’s UN Mission sent last month to Karel Van Oosterom, the Netherlands Permanent Representative who chairs the Council’s North Korea Sanctions Committee.

Indian authorities “will ensure that the relevant provisions” of the Council sanctions will be “implemented in letter and spirit,” the report declared.

It said that an order issued on March 5 by the External Affairs Ministry would implement the sanctions relating to North Korea and a notification was issued on March 7 by the DGFT to regulate trade with North Korea to conform to the sanctions.

Big spurts in imports were noticed in August and September just as efforts were under way in the Security Council to tighten sanctions after Pyongyang carried out missile tests, a UN source familiar with the sanctions process told IANS.

Suddenly the iron and steel imports rose from $69,577 in July to $281,000 in August and $487,000 in September, and iron and steel products import went up to $21,000 in September, the source pointed out.

In case of copper, there was again a spurt, from $13,990 in June to $47,000 in August and $152,000 in September.

The sanctions panel’s report to the Council referred to an earlier explanation sent in July by India about the violations that it blamed on a lack of clarity about the sanctions.

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That communication from India’s UN Mission asserted that “there was no clarity regarding the scope of the measures related to iron and iron ore since there was no elaboration/explanation of the word ‘iron’ and ‘iron ore’.”

It also asked for “clarity” regarding the items banned, including luxury goods.

A UN official told IANS that sanctions monitors had given India details on how various countries had dealt with the definitions of materials in the sanctions as well as the World Customs Organisation’s codes identifying the products.

India could have more credibly invoked a clause that permits some imports “exclusively for livelihood purposes” that was used, for example, by Russia, the official said.

The July communication said that in March last year, India had tightened the ban on trade with North Korea.

The notification of the ban from the DGFT (Notification No. 41/2015-2020; 21 March 2017) mentioned the Council resolutions and specifically mentioned import of iron ore and export of luxury items (which included jewelry and diamonds).

As regards the assertion in the report about the bans requiring “due legal process for incorporating them in domestic law,” an official pointed out that the UN Charter takes precedence and requires compliance. (IANS)

  • Arvind Baba

    It is an open secret that India shares an unholy nuclear connection with North Koreaand quite surprisingly this is a lost debate in mainstream scholarship on nuclear crisis in Korean Peninsula. India’s facilitation of Korean students still remains a mystery despite UN PoE repots and subsequent investigative report by Al Jazeera titled as “India’s embarrassing North Korean connection, in June 2016.

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  • Arvind Baba

    It is an open secret that India shares an unholy nuclear connection with North Koreaand quite surprisingly this is a lost debate in mainstream scholarship on nuclear crisis in Korean Peninsula. India’s facilitation of Korean students still remains a mystery despite UN PoE repots and subsequent investigative report by Al Jazeera titled as “India’s embarrassing North Korean connection, in June 2016.

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U.N. Agencies Running Out of Money for Essential Relief Activities, Yemen’s Children Continue To Suffer

Meanwhile, U.N. humanitarian operations in Yemen are at risk of running out of money in the coming weeks.

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A nurse looks as he weighs a malnourished girl at a malnutrition treatment center in Sanaa, Yemen, Oct. 7, 2018. VOA

The United Nations said Monday that the five-year-old conflict in Yemen has taken a “devastating toll” on the country’s children, with thousands killed, maimed and recruited to fight since the war began.

“The impact of this conflict on children is horrific,” Virginia Gamba, U.N. special representative for children and armed conflict, told a meeting of the Security Council. “All parties to the conflict have acted and reacted militarily to events resulting in the use and abuse of children in multiple ways.”

Since monitoring began in Yemen in April 2013 (before the conflict fully erupted) until the end of the 2018, Gamba said more than 7,500 children have been killed or maimed and more than 3,000 have been verified as recruited or used, and there have been more than 800 documented cases of denial of humanitarian access to children.

Gamba said children reportedly have been forcibly recruited from schools, orphanages and communities to fight on the front lines, man checkpoints, deliver supplies or gather intelligence.

FILE - A 17-year-old boy holds his weapon in High dam in Marib, Yemen, July 30, 2018.
A 17-year-old boy holds his weapon in High dam in Marib, Yemen, July 30, 2018. VOA

Last year, over half of the children recruited were under the age of 15. During that period, the U.N. says more than 200 were killed or maimed while being used by the warring parties.

Gamba called out the Iranian-aligned Houthi rebels for recruiting the majority of the children, followed by the Popular Resistance, Yemen Armed Forces and al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

“The numbers I present to you today represent a mere fraction of violations committed against children in Yemen,” she told council members.

In addition to harm to child soldiers, Gamba said of the more than 7,500 children killed or maimed between 2013 and 2018, nearly half of the casualties were caused by Saudi-coalition airstrikes.

Another 40 percent of such casualties came in ground fighting, including shelling and mortars. Gamba said Houthi rebels were largely to blame, followed by Yemeni government forces, among others.

It is not the first time the U.N. has called out the Saudi-led coalition or the Houthis for harming Yemeni children. But while both sides say they avoid harming civilians, the toll continues to rise.

Redeployment of forces

The U.N. has been working to end the conflict. On Monday, special envoy Martin Griffiths offered a glimmer of hope that the parties might be ready to take a first step away from the battlefield.

He told council members that both the Saudi coalition-backed Yemeni government and the Houthis have accepted a detailed redeployment plan to begin moving their fighters away from the crucial Red Sea port city of Hodeida.

FILE - Houthi militants patrol a street where pro-Houthi protesters demonstrated against the Saudi-led coalition in Hodeida, Yemen.
Houthi militants patrol a street where pro-Houthi protesters demonstrated against the Saudi-led coalition in Hodeida, Yemen. VOA

“We will now move with all speed toward resolving the final outstanding issues related to the operational plans for phase two, redeployments and also the issue of the status of local security forces,” Griffiths told the council in a video briefing from Amman, Jordan.

The parties committed to the plan at talks in Stockholm in December, but efforts to implement the agreement have failed. Griffiths expressed some confidence that they would go forward now.

“When — and I hope it is when and not if — these redeploys happen, they will be the first ones in this long conflict,” he said.

Griffiths acknowledged that the “the war in Yemen … shows no sign of abating,” and said there needs to be real progress on the military redeployments before the focus can shift back to the political track.

U.S. Acting U.N. Ambassador Jonathan Cohen welcomed Houthi acceptance to phase one of the withdrawal plan and said Washington would be “watching closely to see if they make good on that agreement.”

Funds urgently needed

Meanwhile, U.N. humanitarian operations in Yemen are at risk of running out of money in the coming weeks.

In February, international donors pledged $2.6 billion for Yemen relief operations. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — who are prosecuting the war against the Houthis — pledged an additional $1 billion.

FILE - A girl sleeps on a bed at a cholera treatment center in Sanaa, Yemen, Aug. 4, 2018.
A girl sleeps on a bed at a cholera treatment center in Sanaa, Yemen, Aug. 4, 2018. VOA

But U.N. aid chief Mark Lowcock said that nearly four months into 2019, the response plan has received only $267 million in actual funding.

“U.N. agencies are rapidly running out of money for essential relief activities,” he warned.

The country, which is facing a cholera epidemic, could see 60% of its diarrhea treatment centers close in the coming weeks if money is not received. U.N. food programs, which provide emergency food assistance to more than 9 million people every month, would also be impacted.

“Closing or scaling back such programs — at a time when we are struggling to prevent widespread famine and roll back cholera and other killer diseases — would be catastrophic,” Lowcock said.

He also warned that a potential environmental disaster is brewing off of Yemen’s Red Sea coast.

Lowcock said that an oil tanker used as a floating storage and offloading facility, and which is 8 kilometers off the coast at the Ras Isa terminal, is old and has not received any maintenance since 2015. It has about 1.1 million barrels of oil on board.

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“Without maintenance, we fear that it will rupture or even explode, unleashing an environmental disaster in one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes,” Lowcock said.

A Saudi Arabian-led coalition began bombing Houthi rebels in support of Yemen’s government in March 2015. Since then, the U.N. estimates more than 10,000 people have been killed, mostly due to coalition airstrike. (VOA)