US sanctions Kim Jong-un's sister, N Korean officials over human rights abuses

Washington: US authorities have imposed sanctions on seven senior North Korean officials, including leader Kim Jong-un's younger sister, in response to "serious human rights abuses and censorship".

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. AFP

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. AFP

"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 behaviour," Acting Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) John E Smith said on Wednesday.

The list includes Kim Yo Jong, Kim Jong-un's younger sister and Vice Director of the Workers' Party of Korea Propaganda and Agitation Department (PAD), Efe news reported.

Kim Won Hong, the Minister of State Security, a body that Washington considers responsible for torture and inhuman treatment in the country's network of political prison camps was also on the list, along with the State Planning Commission and Ministry of Labour.

OFAC will also freeze the US-based assets of the sanctioned officials and parties.

The US Department of the Treasury's announcement coincides with the State Department's report stressing that North Korea "continues to commit extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrest and detention, forced labour, and torture."

Washington emphasised that these abuses take place in the country's prison camps, where it is estimated that "80,000 to 120,000 individuals are detained, including children and family members of those subject to persecution and censorship."