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Obama issues executive order sanctioning North Korea

[JURIST] US President Barrack Obama [official website] on Wednesday issued an executive order [text] that will impose new sanctions on North Korea for their recent actions of nuclear and ballistic missile testing. The executive order imposes sanctions that include a ban on exports of goods, services and technology to North Korea and prohibits any new investment with the nation. The new order also outlines new criteria with which the Secretary of the Treasury may target workforce human rights and cybersecurity issues within North Korea. Obama believes that these sanctions will put pressure on North Korea and stated that "[t]he U.S. and the global community will not tolerate North Korea's illicit nuclear and ballistic missile activities, and we will continue to impose costs on North Korea until it comes into compliance with its international obligations."

International concern has been expressed over North Korea's instability and poor human rights record. Earlier this month UN human rights investigator Marzuki Darusman urged [JURIST report] the UN Human Rights Council to push for the prosecution of top North Korean government officials for crimes against humanity. Also this month Kim Jong-un watched [JURIST report] a ballistic missile launch test and ordered more tests in order to improve the country's nuclear attack capabilities. In February UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon called on [JURIST report] North Korea's government to stop violating international obligations after another missile launch was conducted. In January the US House of Representatives approved [JURIST report] legislation that would increase sanctions against North Korea for its continuation of nuclear testing. In November Japan and the EU circulated [JURIST report] a draft UN resolution condemning North Korea's human rights abuses and encouraging the UN Security Council to refer the country to the ICC, noting reports of torture, limits on freedom of mobility, restrictions on freedom of speech, restrictions on freedom of religion, privacy infringement, arbitrary imprisonment, prison camps and more. Darusman expressed deep concerns [JURIST report] regarding human rights violations in the country just a month earlier.

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