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Poland: 40 percent of North Koreans to leave in 2018

By
Elizabeth Shim
North Korean laborers in Poland deployed to earn foreign currency for Kim Jong Un, sometimes as farm workers, are to return home in 2018 and 2019. File Photo by Wojciech Pacewicz/EPA
North Korean laborers in Poland deployed to earn foreign currency for Kim Jong Un, sometimes as farm workers, are to return home in 2018 and 2019. File Photo by Wojciech Pacewicz/EPA

Dec. 19 (UPI) -- The government of Poland says less than half of North Korean workers in the country will leave by 2018.

The Polish foreign ministry stated North Korean nationals sanctioned by Pyongyang to work overseas will no longer be issued work permits or be approved for temporary residence, Voice of America reported Tuesday.

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Poland has previously been singled out by the U.S. State Department as one of few members of the European Union for hosting North Korean workers deployed by Kim Jong Un to earn foreign currency for the regime, according to the report.

The Polish foreign ministry also said an additional 30 percent of North Korean workers will leave the country in 2019.

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Using state statistics from August 2017, Warsaw said there are no more than 462 North Korean workers currently residing in the country.

Hosting North Korea-sanctioned workers, however, is a violation of United Nations Security Council sanctions Resolutions 2371 and 2375, adopted in August and September, respectively.

Resolution 2371 prohibits U.N. member states from inviting more North Korean workers and Resolution 2375 bans visa renewals.

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Poland has previously been the center of press investigations into its relation with North Korean workers.

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In December 2016, a South Korean television network confirmed North Korean women workers were being deployed as forced laborers at a tomato farm in Poland.

Polish diplomats have previously confirmed North Korean workers will leave, but that Warsaw cannot simply expel North Korean "guest" workers.

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Pyongyang is under heavy sanctions, but concern is rising the embargoes could hurt ordinary North Koreans, CNN reported last week.

Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the U.N.'s top human rights official, said the "humanitarian assistance provided by the U.N. agencies and others is literally a lifeline for some 13 million acutely vulnerable individuals, but sanctions may be adversely affecting this essential help."

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