UN Consider Banning North Korea From International Competition


Rio de Janeiro - Representantes da Coréia do Norte na área residencial da Vila Olímpica dos Jogos Rio 2016, onde estão hospedados os atletas. (Foto: Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil)

The United Nation’s is now considering banning North Korea (DPRK) from international sporting events until they improve their record on human rights.  Among the UN’s laundry list of complaints are accusations of imprisoning political dissidents, operating labor camps and the summary executing their citizens.

The DPRK have a long history of questionable human rights practices, but the internal climate in North Korea has become even more volatile as of late, with the state most recently executing a former Vice Premier because he showed “disrespect“.

International relations with the isolated communist holdout have also soured since they were caught conducting successful tests of their nuclear program and intercontinental ballistic missiles. Earlier this month, officials in Pyongyang announced:

“[North Korea] will not step back as long as there’s a nuclear threat… A preemptive nuclear strike is not something the US has a monopoly on… If we see that the US would do it to us, we would do it first… We have the technology.”

Even though their weapons program has improved, the DPRK is far from flourishing. With recently mass-flooding, limited food supplies and a notable increase in defectors, it’s not entirely surprising that North Korea has decided to engage in a shows of strength. In September, Kim Jong-Un felt the need to “ban sarcasm“, so things are clearly going well…
With North Korea acting openly hostile in both their foreign and domestic policies, the DPRK are not winning any new friends. Ambassador Robert King, a US special envoy to North Korea, is supporting further sanctions and adding several individuals from the DPRK to the UN’s list of human rights violators. This new ban from international competition is one possible sanction the regulators might attempt.
Personally, I don’t really know how I feel about the idea. While a similar tactic helped to put pressure on South Africa to end the apartheid, this feels like a very different sort of conflict. Considering how unstable things are in North Korea, how much could missing a couple weightlifting competitions really matter? It seems like the impact would be somewhat negligible, like a band-aid on a head wound. Then again, if all we have are band-aids, what do we have to lose?