WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement regarding the Obama Administration’s designation of North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un, 10 other North Korean officials, and five North Korean entities responsible for serious human rights abuses:
“For the very first time today, the Administration took an important step in designating Kim Jong Un, the leader of the repressive North Korean regime, for perpetrating gross violations of human rights against the people of North Korea. As the leader of one of the world’s most dangerous and repressive regimes, Kim Jong Un’s nefarious activities—and those of his associates—are well known. A number of U.S. and U.N. sanctions are in place against individuals and entities involved in North Korea’s pursuit of illegal nuclear weapons, for example.
“However, today’s sanctions send a message that the United States government condemns the Kim regime not only for endangering of people outside their borders through their reckless nuclear weapons program, but also for the grave human rights abuses that Kim Jong Un and his associates have carried out against the people of North Korea.
“As the lead Democratic co-sponsor of the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016, I am pleased that today the United States is sending an unequivocal message to that Kim Jong Un’s gross mistreatment of his own people will not be tolerated.”
Since his rise to power, Kim Jong Un has tightened his stranglehold on the people of North Korea through profound cruelty: in 2014, a United Nations Commission of inquiry Report on human rights in the DPRK documented what they called “widespread gross human rights violations” to include extrajudicial killings, torture and starvation.
In addition to Kim Jong Un himself, who personally leads the Ministry of State Security and Ministry of People’s Security, the Administration also designated 10 other individuals and 5 entities responsible for serious violations of human rights in North Korea.
The Treasury Department took these actions in conjunction with the State Department’s issuance of a “Report on Serious Human Rights Abuses or Censorship in North Korea,” which was required by North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016.