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US Treasury imposes sanctions on entities with ties to North Korea human rights abuses

[JURIST] The US Department of Treasury [official website] Office of Foreign Assets Control imposed sanctions [text] on seven individuals and three organizations for human rights abuses in connection with the US State Department's [official website] "Report [text] on Human Rights Abuses and Censorship in North Korea."

The State Department's report heavily focused on the activities of the North Korea military and characterized the human rights abuses by the country's regime as some of the worst in the world [press release] that included "extrajudicial killings, forced labor, torture, prolonged arbitrary detention, as well as rape, forced abortions, and other sexual violence inside the country."

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin [official profile] expressed [press release] concern over North Korea's serious violations of human rights:

We are especially concerned with the North Korean military, which operates as secret police, punishing all forms of dissent. Further, the military operates outside of North Korea to hunt down asylum seekers, and brutally detains and forcibly returns North Korean citizens. Today's sanctions target the North Korean military and regime officials engaged in flagrant abuses of human rights. We also are targeting North Korean financial facilitators who attempt to keep the regime afloat with foreign currency earned through forced labor operations ... As a result of today's actions, any property or interest in property of those designated by OFAC within U.S. jurisdiction is frozen ...Transactions by U.S. persons involving any of these sanctioned persons are generally prohibited.

The Treasury Department is taking this action in conjunction with the state department under the powers granted with the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016 [text, PDF].

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