North Korea, a nuclear-armed dictatorship that frequently executes dissidents and has deliberately starved a segment of its people, was elected to a place on the ten-member executive board of the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) on Tuesday, as the W.H.O.’s annual conference came to a close.
U.N. Watch executive director Hillel Neuer has said that North Korea’s election sends the worst conceivable message at a difficult moment for the international organization. He also mentioned how China’s objections kept Taiwan from attending the same session, despite Taiwan’s typically stellar track record on public health concerns, and how the session singled out Israel for condemnation. No other country, conflict, civil war, or political deadlock has been chosen as an agenda item or resolution.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the current director-general of the World Health Organization, is a member of the Tigrayan ethnic group and has been condemned by the Ethiopian government for supposedly supporting the Tigrayan cause during the country’s civil war. After the battle, Tedros spoke out against the “horrific” situation in Ethiopia, blaming the Eritrean government for the death of his uncle in the fight.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the sister organization of the World Health Organization, reported last week that the humanitarian situation in Ethiopia is “worsening” for more than 800,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs), even though the war is technically over, and that billions of dollars in additional funding for aid are urgently needed.
Massive protests were held by IDPs last week in response to the suspension of humanitarian aid, which numerous groups had grudgingly implemented due to widespread food and medicine theft. The World Health Organization singled out Israel, which, as Neuer said, is a prominent player in the Middle East conflict.
This year, North Korea joined the World Health Organization’s executive board, citing “deep concern about the health conditions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.” The homicidal Syrian dictatorship has been a board member for two years.
According to W.H.O. spokesperson Jamie Metzl, North Korea is one of the worst violators of human rights and a threat to public health. However, Metzl believes it is better to include them in global health efforts due to the interconnectedness of public health.
This line of thinking is similar to the one used to preserve the murderous Chinese regime in W.H.O. after China lied to and withheld information from the organization during the epidemic.