UN Sanctions Committee Finds No Violation In WIPO Shipments To North Korea

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The World Intellectual Property Organization did not violate United Nations sanctions on North Korea when it shipped computers and equipment to the country as technical assistance, a UN sanctions committee has found. It did suggest that WIPO should have consulted the committee before making the shipments, but accepted WIPO’s plan for review and consultation in the future.

The decision was made public by WIPO today, as it issued a press release containing a two-page letter from the committee.

The UN letter to WIPO Director General Francis Gurry is here [pdf]. The WIPO press release is here.

WIPO was called to task in recent months when the shipment programme became known. It also shipped computers and other equipment to Iran and other sanctioned countries.

The ruling pertains to UN sanctions, so it is unclear whether WIPO’s actions will be considered to be in violation of stricter United States sanctions on those countries.

Sanctions are aimed at preventing designated countries from obtaining dual-use technologies that could be used for weapons purposes.

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  1. […] At that time, Gurry did not give permission for Kateb to testify before a hearing of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee on the issue, on the basis that he was not the appropriate official with knowledge of the transactions. The UN later assessed that the shipments did not appear to violate UN sanctions, though WIPO was reprimanded for its failure to inform the UN sanctions committee earlier (IPW, WIPO, 24 September 2014). […]

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