Looking at North Korea through the UN’s human security lens including: economic, food, health, environmental, personal, community, and political security.
When I was summoned to the office of my new boss, the other staff looked at me as though I was about to enter a lion’s den. I paused at the door, took a deep breath, and entered. I wanted to make a good impression in my first meeting with the UN World Food Programme (WFP) DPRK Country Director. She was reading a file on her desk when I came in. [...]
Roberta Cohen and I, along with most observers of North Korea, agree on the details of the human rights situation. We differ on strategies to address the abysmal state of affairs. But we don’t differ quite as much as Roberta suggests in her article Human Rights: A Means of Engaging North Korea. I don’t, for instance, suggest “setting [...]
That North Korea has one of the world’s worst human rights records is not in dispute. Every report about the country demonstrates its denial of the most elementary economic, social, and civil and political rights. In fact, the name North Korea conjures up not only nuclear weapons but a country where people go hungry because of government [...]
Social workers are fond of saying that they must start where their clients are. This basic principle of social work is not theoretical. It comes from decades of practice. Simply telling people what they should do rarely translates into their actually doing “the right thing.” So instead, social workers have turned the tables by beginning not [...]
In the early 1990s, agricultural production in North Korea began a precipitous decline that ultimately resulted in a famine from which perhaps 5 percent of the population died. Since the worst years of 1996 and 1997, food production has recovered somewhat, and international aid has helped avert the worst consequences. Yet farm production in the [...]
After the flood devastation of the mid-1990s, I was one of the two Americans the North Koreans requested to help them seek humanitarian assistance for their country. Thus began a long journey of discovery of the DPRK humanitarian space filled with uncertainties and challenges. In delivering aid, I got to know the North’s rural communities and [...]