The department said in a statement on Wednesday that its Office of Foreign Assets Control added six men and one woman, all officials of the government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea or the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, along with the Ministry of Labor and the State Planning Commission, to the Specially Designated Nationals List.
“The North Korean regime not only engages in severe human rights abuses, but it also implements rigid censorship policies and conceals its inhumane and oppressive behavior,” acting OFAC Director John Smith said in the statement, adding that the move aimed to expose the individuals responsible for the abuses.
The U.S. State Department said in a separate statement that the action coincided with the release of its second report on North Korean human rights abuses and censorship, which it called among the worst in the world.
Pyongyang "continues to commit extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrest and detention, forced labor, and torture. Many of these abuses are committed in the political prison camps, where an estimated 80,000 to 120,000 individuals are detained, including children and family members of those subject to persecution and censorship," the State Department statement said.Read more at Reuters