January 12, 2017 08:22
The U.S. has imposed sanctions on seven North Korean officials, including leader Kim Jong-un's sister, for what it calls the North's "ongoing and serious human rights abuses and censorship activities."
Two North Korean government agencies -- the labor ministry and state planning commission -- also were sanctioned Wednesday.
The sanctions freeze their U.S. property and interests. U.S. citizens are generally barred from doing business with the seven North Koreans and the agencies.
"Human rights abuses in [the North] remain among the worst in the world," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said. "The North Korean government continues to commit extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrest and detention, forced labor and torture."
Toner said as many as 120,000 people are in North Korean prison camps, including children. He also said censorship and information denial is "omnipresent."
Those sanctioned include Kim Yo-jong -- Kim Jong-un's younger sister and the deputy head of North Korea's propaganda agency, which is primarily responsible for media censorship, and State Security Minister Kim Won-hong, whose ministry allegedly engages in torture, beatings, starvation, sexual assault and the murder of babies inside prison camps.
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