COLAP Statement on lifting economic sanctions against DPRK


The Confederation of Lawyers of Asia and the Pacific (COLAP) demands the US, Japan, and the UN to lift economic sanctions against the DPRK under COVID-19

1. The global pandemic of COVID-19 epidemics is drastically getting worse. The rapid proliferation of COVID-19 threatens the stability of healthcare and health systems worldwide, and the global economy is in a deep recession.
To overcome the public health and economic crisis faced by all countries, international solidarity and cooperation to prevent and minimize the spread of COVID-19 are necessary and crucial. It should address this global crisis without discrimination.

2. In this respect, even at this moment, the United States and its allies maintain and aggravate sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), which has caused extreme suffering as the most robust economic sanction for the past several decades with the military threat of nuclear weapons.

US President Donald Trump sent a letter to DPRK leader Kim Jong-un to express his willingness to cooperate with the COVID-19 defense on March 22. But on March 25, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at a press conference that all countries, including G7 countries, must continue to unite to maintain diplomatic and economic pressure on the DPRK. Besides, the US Treasury Department included a secondary boycott, that is, third-party financial sanctions, to DPRK and other third-party financial institutions that helped trade with DPRK.

The US’s allies, Japan, also have imposed unilateral sanctions against DPRK since 2006. The UN sanctions by the UN Security Council resolutions also include trade embargo against DPRK since 2016. The sanctions against DPRK, especially economic sanctions, are incompatible with the purpose and principle of the UN Charter that is the respect of the state sovereignty and the protection of humanitarian and fundamental human rights, in particular under the situation of COVID-19 pandemic.

3. At the same time, the continuous sanctions are an obstruction to the implementation of the peace process in Korean Peninsula and violate the right to self-determination of the Korean people. North-South joint declaration (the Panmunjom Declaration and the Pyongyang Declaration in 2018) aims at pursuing lasting peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula.

The US and the UN’s economic sanctions against DPRK are interfering with the railroad and road connection projects, and the resumption of the Kaesong Industrial Complex and the Mount Kumgang Tourism Project promised by the two Koreas. Actually, it is difficult for the South Korean government to implement cooperation in the field of quarantine and health care to prevent the spread of COVID-19 between the two Koreas without US approval.

The US’s economic sanctions against DPRK are the obstacle to the survival and development of a North and South Korean relation and the violation of the right to the self-determination of Korean people. As long as the US maintains such hostile policy toward DPRK and the South Korean government goes along with it, it is challenging to improve inter-Korean exchanges, cooperation, and inter-Korean relations.

4. With our international solidarity to the government and people of the DPRK in hopes of successfully overcoming the crisis caused by COVID-19, COLAP urges the US and Japan, and the UN to immediately and completely lift economic sanctions against DPRK.

-They are incompatible with the UN Charter principle and hinder global solidarity and cooperation from resolving COVID-19 in the wake of public health emergencies caused by COVID-19.

– The economic sanctions are also obstacles to inter-Korean exchange, cooperation, and improvement and also hinders the survival and development of the reunification of both Koreas.

Confederation of Lawyers of Asia and the Pacific
Secretary general: Jun Sasamoto