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Press Center

 Treasury Sanctions North Korean Senior Officials and Entities Associated with Human Rights Abuses


7/6/2016
 
​Today’s Treasury Designations and State Department Report Fulfill Requirements Under the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016
          
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today designated top officials of the North Korean regime, including North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, ten other individuals, and five entities, for their ties to North Korea’s notorious abuses of human rights.  OFAC is taking this action in conjunction with the State Department’s issuance of a “Report on Serious Human Rights Abuses or Censorship in North Korea,” in accordance with the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016, and to further our efforts to expose those responsible for serious human rights abuses and censorship in North Korea.  OFAC has previously designated four individuals and three entities also highlighted in the State Department report.  With today’s action, OFAC has designated all of the individuals and entities named in the State Department’s report. 
 
OFAC’s designations today were issued pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13722 and E.O. 13687.  E.O. 13722 targets individuals and entities that, among other activities, have engaged in, facilitated, or been responsible for an abuse or violation of human rights by the Government of North Korea or the Workers’ Party of Korea.  E.O. 13687 targets agencies, instrumentalities, controlled entities, and officials of the Government of North Korea and the Workers’ Party of Korea.  As a result of today’s actions, any property or interest in property of those designated by OFAC within U.S. jurisdiction is frozen.  Additionally, transactions by U.S. persons involving the designated persons are generally prohibited.
 
“Under Kim Jong Un, North Korea continues to inflict intolerable cruelty and hardship on millions of its own people, including extrajudicial killings, forced labor, and torture,” said Adam J. Szubin, Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.  “The actions taken today by the Administration under an Act of Congress highlight the U.S. Government’s condemnation of this regime’s abuses and our determination to see them stopped.”
 
Today’s actions strengthen and expand sanctions on North Korea, consistent with the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016, which was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama in February. 
 
E.O. 13722 Designations Related to Human Rights Abuses by the Government of North Korea and the Workers’ Party of Korea
 
OFAC designated North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pursuant to E.O. 13722 for having engaged in, facilitated, or been responsible for an abuse or violation of human rights by the Government of North Korea or the Workers’ Party of Korea.  Under the rule of Kim Jong Un, North Korea remains among the world’s most repressive countries, with significant restrictions on the exercise of fundamental freedoms and serious human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrest and detention, forced labor, and torture.  Kim Jong Un leads the Ministry of State Security and Ministry of People’s Security.  These ministries, along with the Ministry of People’s Security Correctional Bureau and the Ministry of State Security Prisons Bureau, are also being designated today pursuant to E.O. 13722 for having engaged in, facilitated, or been responsible for an abuse or violation of human rights by the Government of North Korea or the Workers’ Party of Korea.
 
OFAC also designated three individuals pursuant to E.O. 13722 for having acted for or on behalf of the Ministry of People’s Security or the Ministry of State Security.  Choe Pu Il is the Minister of People’s Security, Ri Song Chol is a Counselor in the Ministry of People’s Security, and Kang Song Nam is a Bureau Director with the Ministry of State Security.
 
The Ministry of State Security engages in torture and inhumane treatment of detainees during interrogation and in detention centers.  This inhumane treatment includes beatings, forced starvation, sexual assault, forced abortions, and infanticide.  According to the State Department report, the ministry is the lead agency investigating political crimes and administering the country’s network of political prison camps or kwanliso, which hold an estimated 80,000 to 120,000 prisoners, including children and other family members of the accused.  In addition, the Ministry of State Security’s Prisons Bureau is responsible for the management and control of political prisoners and their confinement facilities throughout North Korea.  It operates North Korean political prison camps where serious human rights abuses occur, including those involving torture, execution, sexual assault, starvation, slave labor, and other cruel extrajudicial punishment. 
 
The Ministry of People’s Security operates a network of police stations and interrogation detention centers, including labor camps, throughout North Korea.  During interrogations, suspects are systematically degraded, intimidated, and tortured.  The Ministry of People’s Security’s Correctional Bureau supervises labor camps (kyohwaso) and other detention facilities, where human rights abuses occur such as those involving torture, execution, rape, starvation, forced labor, and lack of medical care.  The State Department report cites defectors who have regularly reported that the ministry uses torture and other forms of abuse to extract confessions, including techniques involving sexual violence, hanging individuals from the ceiling for extended periods of time, prolonged periods of exposure, and severe beatings.  
 
E.O. 13687 Designations of Agencies, Instrumentalities, Controlled Entities, and Officials of the Government of North Korea and the Workers’ Party of Korea
 
Pursuant to E.O. 13687, OFAC designated the Organization and Guidance Department as an agency, instrumentality, or controlled entity of the Workers’ Party of Korea.  OFAC also designated seven individuals – Cho Yon Chun, Kim Kyong Ok, Kim Ki Nam, Ri Jae Il, Choe Chang Pong, Cho Il U, and O Chong Kuk, pursuant to E.O. 13687, for being officials of the Government of North Korea or the Workers’ Party of Korea. 
 
The Organization and Guidance Department is a powerful body of the North Korean regime.  According to the State Department report, it is instrumental in implementing the DPRK’s censorship policies.  It directs key personnel appointments for the Workers’ Party of Korea, the North Korean military, and the North Korean government administration.  It also purports to control the political affairs of all North Koreans.  Cho Yon Chun and Kim Kyong Ok are Vice Directors of this department. 
 
Kim Ki Nam is the Director and Ri Jae Il is a Vice Director of the Workers’ Party of Korea Propaganda and Agitation Department.  Under E.O. 13722, the Propaganda and Agitation Department was previously identified for being an agency, instrumentality, or controlled entity of the Government of North Korea.  According to the State Department report, the Propaganda and Agitation Department controls all media in the country, which the government uses to control the public. 
 
Choe Chang Pong is the Director of the Investigations Bureau of the Ministry of People’s Security.  It has been reported that he is responsible for monitoring the residents on the North Korea-China border area and arresting and interrogating defectors. 
 
Cho Il U is the Director of the Fifth Bureau of the Reconnaissance General Bureau (RGB).  The RGB previously was designated pursuant to E.O. 13687 for being a controlled entity of the Government of North Korea and listed in the Annex of E.O. 13551.  It has been reported that Cho is in charge of overseas espionage operations and foreign intelligence collection for North Korea.  It has also been reported that he supported the arrest of North Korean defectors by monitoring and collecting information on their hideouts in China.  Cho also reportedly reinforced organizations and personnel in charge of conducting operations to harm anti-North Korean defectors. 
 
O Chong Kuk is the Director of the First Bureau of the RGB.  He is reportedly in charge of North Korea’s infiltration operations into South Korea. 
 
For identifying information on the individuals and entities designated today, click here.
 
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