On Thursday the US enforced sanctions on seven individuals as well as three institutions about serious abuses of human rights, which include the persecution of asylum seekers and forced labour. Steven Mnuchin, the American Treasury Secretary stated that these sanctions are targeting regime officials as well as North Korea’s Military. He said that they also target certain North Korean financial implementers who are trying to assist the regime not to sink, with foreign currency which is earned via operations of forced labour. Those who are targeted by these sanctions include: both the North Korean Military Security Command’s director and his deputy; the North Korean Ministry of People’s-Security as well as the North Korean minister of labour; consul general in China’s Shenyang as well as a diplomat of the North Korean embassy based in Vietnam. Mr Mnuchin said that the US is particularly concerned about the military of North Korea, operating as secret police and punishing all types of conflict.
The military is operating outside North Korea to persecute asylum seekers who are brutally detained and returned them to North Korea with force. According to charges on the statement of the Treasury, Shenyang’s consul general, Ku Sung Sop as well as a diplomat at the Vietnamese embassy, Kim Min Chol, took part in the involuntary repatriation of asylum seekers from North Korea. It further stated that an Overseas Construction Company, Ch’olhyo’n, was sanctioned together with the External Construction Bureau and North Korean Military Security Command were operating in Algeria to reportedly obtain foreign currency to aid North Korea. As stated in the statement of the Treasury, employees who worked for Ch’olhyo’n, were kept in slave-like circumstances which include that their passports and salaries were withheld by security officials of North Korea who were working as site supervisors, they lived in poor conditions, receiving meagre food supplies whilst extreme restrictions were placed on their freedom to move around. Other countries where this External Construction Bureau was operating include Qatar, Oman, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. The United States administration wanted to curb North Korea’s income which it derives by exporting its labour, as part of their efforts to obstruct funds which is used in financing North Korea’s nuclear & missile programs. According to Pyongyang the goal is to develop weapons with the capacity to hit the United States. As a routine North Korea denies these allegations of abusing human rights.