Washington, DC - Today, in commemoration of International Human Rights Day and as part of our continued efforts to promote accountability for North Korean officials, we are releasing our report, which identifies three individuals and three groups as responsible for serious human rights abuses or censorship. In conjunction with the report, the Department of the Treasury has added three North Korean persons to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons list.
We believe that respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms is an essential foundation of stable, secure, and prosperous societies. Standing up for such rights and freedoms is a foreign policy priority that represents the best traditions of the United States.
Human rights abuses in North Korea remain among the worst in the world and include extrajudicial killings, forced labor, torture, prolonged arbitrary detention, rape, forced abortions, and other sexual violence.
This report focuses primarily on the regime’s efforts to suppress independent media and freedom of expression. Independent media cannot operate legally in North Korea. All media is strictly censored by government authorities who conduct pre-publication screenings to ensure there is no deviation from the official line. Authorities take steps to jam foreign radio broadcasts, and interagency task forces conduct warrantless searches for foreign media. Individuals accused of viewing foreign films are reportedly subject to imprisonment or even execution.
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. 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.