Treasury Department Imposes Sanctions and State Department Issues Report Pursuant to 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 seven individuals and identified as blocked two entities of the North Korean regime in response to the regime’s ongoing and serious human rights abuses and censorship activities. Treasury is taking this action in conjunction with the State Department’s “Report on Serious Human Rights Abuses or Censorship in North Korea,” which is being submitted in accordance with the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016.
“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,” said John E. Smith, Acting OFAC Director. “Today’s action exposes individuals supporting the North Korean regime and underscores the U.S. Government’s commitment to promoting accountability for serious human rights abuses and censorship in North Korea.”
Today’s designations were issued pursuant to E.O. 13687, which targets, among others, 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. The identifications of two entities as blocked were issued pursuant to E.O. 13722, which, among others, blocks the property and interests in property of the Government of North Korea and the Workers’ Party of Korea, including those two entities.
Officials of the Government of North Korea and the Workers’ Party of Korea
OFAC designated Kim Won Hong, Kim Il-Nam, Kim Yo Jong, Choe Hwi, Min Byong Chol, Jo Yong-Won, and Kang P’il Hun pursuant to E.O. 13687 for being officials of the Government of North Korea or the Workers’ Party of Korea.
Kim Won Hong is the Minister of State Security and oversees the Ministry of State Security (MSS). OFAC previously designated the MSS 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. The MSS engages in torture and inhumane treatment of detainees during interrogation and in the country’s network of political prison camps. This inhumane treatment includes beatings, forced starvation, sexual assault, forced abortions, and infanticide. According to the Department of State, Kim Won Hong plays a role directing the abuses perpetrated by the MSS and managing its day-to-day activities, including in the political prison camp system.
Kim Il-Nam is the Chief of the South Hamgyong Province political prison camp for the MSS. The Department of State report notes that he is involved in the management of the Yodok political prison camp located within this province.
Kim Yo Jong is the Vice Director of the Workers’ Party of Korea Propaganda and Agitation Department (PAD) and the younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. OFAC previously identified the PAD pursuant to E.O. 13722 as a component of the Government of North Korea. It is North Korea’s primary agency responsible for both newspaper and broadcast censorship, among other things. Choe Hwi is also a Vice Director of the PAD, and according to the Department of State, he has reportedly been responsible for maintaining ideological purity and managing the general censorship functions of the PAD.
Min Byong Chol – reportedly known as the “angel of death” for his record of political inspections and purges – is a member of the Worker’s Party of Korea’s Organization and Guidance Department. Jo Yong-Won is the Vice Director of the Organization and Guidance Department and a member of the Workers’ Party of Korea Central Committee. The Department of State has reported that the Organization and Guidance Department is instrumental in implementing North Korea’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 claims to control the political affairs of all North Koreans.
Kang P’il-Hun is the Director of the General Political Bureau of the Ministry of People’s Security. OFAC previously designated the Ministry of People’s Security 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. The Ministry of People’s Security operates a network of police stations, interrogation and detention centers, and labor camps throughout North Korea and uses interrogations to degrade, intimidate, and torture their citizens.
Agencies, Instrumentalities, and Controlled Entities of the Government of North Korea
OFAC identified the State Planning Commission and Ministry of Labor pursuant to E.O. 13722 as agencies, instrumentalities, or controlled entities of the Government of North Korea. The Ministry of Labor forcibly allocates individuals to specific sectors, including the mining sector, in accordance with the State Planning Commission’s labor allocation plans.
For identifying information on the individuals designated and entities identified today, click here.