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NUKEWARS
US adds sanctions on North Korea for rights abuses
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Oct 26, 2017


Sanctions may be worsening human rights in N.Korea: UN rapporteur
United Nations, United States (AFP) Oct 26, 2017 - Three recent rounds of United Nations sanctions on Pyongyang over its missile and nuclear tests may be hurting ordinary North Koreans and worsening the country's already dire human rights situation, an independent expert said Thursday.

UN Special Rapporteur Tomas Quintana told the General Assembly's human rights committee that shipments to North Korea of medicine for cancer patients, and of wheelchairs and other equipment for people with disabilities had been blocked, probably as a result of sanctions.

Humanitarian aid workers working in North Korea are facing bigger hurdles to obtain supplies and carry out financial transactions due to sanctions, he said.

"I am concerned with the possibility that these sanctions might have a negative impact on vital economic sectors, and therefore, a direct consequence on the enjoyment of human rights," said Quintana, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in North Korea.

The Security Council has slapped export bans on coal, iron, lead, textiles and seafood, restricted joint ventures and blacklisted a number of North Korean companies in response to Pyongyang's missile and nuclear tests.

The sanctions are aimed at choking off revenue to Pyongyang's military programs, but Quintana said ordinary North Koreans may suffer.

"History shows us that sanctions can have a devastating impact on the civilian population," said the Argentine diplomat.

He called for a full assessment of the sanctions regime to ensure the measures do not "effectively constitute a collective punishment on the ordinary citizens" of North Korea.

In a written report to the committee, Quintana said 41 percent of North Korea's population is undernourished as the country struggles with chronic food shortages exacerbated by floods and droughts.

Nearly a third of children under the age of five suffer from stunting, the growth failure caused by malnutrition, a significant increase from 2014.

Some 18 million people, or 70 percent of the population, depend on food aid in North Korea.

The United States layered a new round of sanctions on North Korea Thursday, blacklisting individuals and organizations involved in security and forced labor policies for "ongoing and serious human rights abuses."

Amid the ongoing standoff over Pyongyang's threatening nuclear posture towards Japan and the United States, the US Treasury sought to boost pressure by placing the financial restrictions on seven senior officials and three state units.

The move came as the State Department released its "Report on Serious Human Rights Abuses and Censorship in North Korea" which details allegations of a national forced labor system and the government's confiscation of the wages of North Koreans sent abroad as contract labor.

"Human rights abuses by DPRK regime remain among the worst in the world, including those involving extrajudicial killings, forced labor, torture, prolonged arbitrary detention, as well as rape, forced abortions, and other sexual violence inside the country," said State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert.

"Many of the country's human rights abuses underwrite the regime's weapons program," she added.

The sanctions included the Military Security Command and its director and deputy director, described as "the military's secret police" that investigates political crimes in the armed forces.

Also targeted were Minister of Labor Jong Yong Su, the External Construction Bureau and the Ch'olhyo'n Overseas Construction Company, for their roles in forced labor and foreign labor contracting deals.

The rights report details the country's programs for sending Korean workers abroad for jobs under conditions it compared with slavery in order to reap foreign exchange for the state.

It says the Ch'olhyo'n Overseas Construction Company company, working in Algeria, had Korean government security officials working with it to withhold the salaries and passports of the Korean workers, and to strictly limit their movements.

"Thousands of North Koreans are sent abroad every year to work in slave-like conditions, earning revenue for the regime," Nauert said.

Also listed for sanctions were the first vice minister of the Ministry of People's Security, the North Korean Consul General in Shenyang, China, and a diplomat in the country's embassy in Vietnam.

The two diplomats, the US said, have participated in the forced repatriation of North Koreans seeking political asylum in other countries.

NUKEWARS
India shrinks ties with NKorea but will not close embassy
New Delhi (AFP) Oct 25, 2017
India has slashed trade with North Korea in line with UN sanctions over the North's nuclear tests but will not close its Pyongyang embassy, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said Wednesday. North Korea was one of a number of key Asian security topics raised by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in New Delhi. The United States has reportedly been urging allies to cut diplomatic ties with the No ... read more

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