Claim: There is a clear humanitarian crisis in the country of North Korea but it is hidden from outside media.
While these people are in poverty, their government is focusing on military efforts and nuclear weapons. The outside media has a very limited access to North Korea. However when news reporters are allowed to this reclusive country, they’re restricted to only the capital, Pyongyang and government devoted citizens who despise America. These reporters do not get to witness the poverty of this country and people wishing to escape. Two well known CNN news reporters, Will Ripley and Marc Lourdes, spent 15 days in this enigmatic country. During their stay, they took the opportunity to interview several North Koreans to gain a better understanding of their lives. Ripley stumbled across a group of children engaging in a shooting video game and when asked what their favorite part of the game was the boy replied, “killing the enemy, the Americans”, the boy continues on saying that him and his friends want to join the army one day to fight, the “sworn American enemy because they forcibly invaded us and slaughtered our people”This conversation demonstrates how outside news reporters are only allowed to converse with citizens who only have hatred for America.When the public reads articles such as these, it perpetuates the misconception that all North Koreans hate America and are content with living conditions in their country.
As a result the voices of those living in poverty and discontent are ignored. One of the reasons there is so little media coverage on North Korea, other than nuclear weapons is that the government places highly restrictive boundaries on foreign reporters and visitors. These foreigner are only allowed to visit certain areas, interactions with local people are supervised and photography is heavily regulated.A well known French photographer by the name of Eric Lafforgue visited the country in 2013.
He later published several candids of citizens and other sceneries. Many of his photos depicted the other side of North Korea, the side the government doesn’t want the outside world to know about. The North Korean army is said to be one of strength and stature. However Lafforgue claimed that in the country it isn’t uncommon to see soldiers doing menial tasks. One of his photos depict a soldier sleeping in a field, while another shows a soldier helping a farmer carry large pieces of wood.
Another powerful image shot by him showed two extremely thin children attempting to carry buckets of water across an unpaved dirt road. As a result when these photos were published, the government was so angered that Lafforgue was banned from the country.The banishment of this photographer simply for trying to bring attention to the poverty of this country demonstrates that their government is choosing to keep the humanitarian crisis hidden from the outside world. The people of North Korea are living in poverty and do not have access to basic liberties. “The standard of living has deteriorated to extreme levels of deprivation in which the right to food security, health and other minimum needs for human survival are denied” (Korea Institute for National Unification) This direct quote from The Korea Institute for National Unification, a research group based in Seoul, demonstrates how poor the living conditions of North Korea have become as well the lack of basic human necessities. According to The World Food Programme, 70% of the North Korean population is food insecure.
Due to the lack of essential proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals in the country, ¼ of children are stunted and suffering from from chronic malnutrition. A drought in 2015 resulted in a 11 percent reduction in harvests on the previous year. Sadly this has led to a substantial food shortage for many. The people of North Korea aren’t simply facing poor living conditions but many are starving, data from The World Food Programme illustrates that. If such a large percentage of this country is suffering from food insecurity, this shows how badly the conditions have become.
North Korea has a “free” medical system, but hospital patients must pay for their own drugs, cover the cost of heat, and prepare all their own meals at home. “The reality is basic healthcare is very hard to obtain,” says Greg Scarlatoiu, executive director of the U.S.
-based Committee for Human Rights in North Korea. There is also an overwhelming shortage of blood, medicine and supplies in many hospitals. One of the basic liberties that every person should have access to is healthcare but that simply isn’t a reality for the people of North Korea.Ordinary healthcare is simply too expensive and hard to obtain because of the high level of poverty. Overall there is a clear humanitarian crisis in the country of North Korea.
People are without standard health care and can’t afford the high cost of hospitals. An overwhelming percentage of the population is malnourished due to food shortage. IV. North Korean government focuses too heavily on military efforts rather than trying to improve living conditions for their people.
24.2% of the nation’s GDP, the total value of goods produced and services provided in a country during one year, is put into its army, navy and air force. While the average annual number worldwide is approximately 2%. (World Military Expenditures and Arms Transfers Report, 2015) It is a extremely uncommon for a country to spend a large amount of their GDP be dedicated to their defenses. Countries such as the United States sacrifices only 4.
3% of its GDP to defenses. By putting such a large percentage of their resources into military efforts, the government of North Korea is neglecting the needs of their people. 75% of North Koreans reply on Jangmadang to support themselves as well as their families.
Jangmadang is a network of black markets where many citizens go to exchange resources with the other citizens. The North Korean government is unwilling to provide its people with basic resources. As a result an overwhelming percentage of them are left with this exchange method to put food on the table for their families. The people of North Korea are in desperate need for help. However this country’s government would rather focus on their military and weapons. VI. Counterargument: The government of North Korea has a right to their own privacy, which includes only allowing foreigners in certain areas.
They also should be focusing on strengthen their military to prevent warfare with other countries. Although a country does have a right to their privacy, there is a large humanitarian crisis in this country. People as well as their innocent families are sent to political prison camps and living under extreme conditions of poverty. If the world does not intervene and try to gain more knowledges about this country, it will eventually self destruct and more people will continue to suffer. VII.
Conclusion: Overall the government of North Korea is continuing to support the claim that their country is superior to the US and many other countries. They also promote the concept that all North Koreans are content with their lives and under complete devotion to Kim Jong Un. However this is far from the truth, every year an overwhelming amount of people attempt to escape North Korea, very few are successful. This is due to the overwhelming amount of border protection surrounding the country instilled by their government, making it extremely to escape the nation. If there are people desperately trying to leave this country and being executed for trying to exercise their rights as humans, that is global issue not a North Korean one.