Today, consistent with the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016, the State Department released our third report on DPRK human rights abuses and censorship, identifying Jo Kyong-Chol (Commander of the Military Security Command), Sin Yong Il (Deputy Director of the Military Security Command), Jong Yong Su (Minister of Labor), Ri Thae Chol (First Vice Minister of the Ministry of People’s Security), Kim Kang Jin (Director of the External Construction Bureau), Ku Sung Sub (North Korean Consul General in Shenyang, China), Kim Min Chol (Second Secretary at the DPRK Embassy in Vietnam), the Military Security Command, External Construction Bureau, and Cholhyun Construction as responsible for serious human rights abuses or censorship in North Korea. In conjunction with this report, the Department of the Treasury added the ten persons and entities to the List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons.
Human rights abuses by DPRK regime remain among the worst in the world, including those involving extrajudicial killings, forced labor, torture, prolonged arbitrary detention, as well as rape, forced abortions, and other sexual violence inside the country. Many of the country’s human rights abuses underwrite the regime’s weapon’s program, including forced labor in the form of mass mobilizations, reeducation through labor camps, and overseas labor contracts. Thousands of North Koreans are sent abroad every year to work in slave-like conditions, earning revenue for the regime.
In addition, the regime’s efforts to restrict North Koreans’ freedom of movement, right to leave their country, and access to information reach far beyond its sovereign boundaries. The government deploys security officials on assignments overseas to monitor the activities of North Koreans abroad and to forcibly repatriate individuals seeking asylum abroad.
The report represents a continuation of U.S. government efforts to name those responsible for or associated with the worst aspects of the North Korean government’s repression, including serious human rights abuses and censorship in the DPRK. Both the State Department report and actions by the Treasury Department are consistent with the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016, signed by the President into law on February 18, 2016.