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12/11/2018 North Korea (International Christian Concern) – Despite a thaw in relations between the U.S. and North Korea, on December 10, as the world celebrated Human Rights Day, Washington announced sanctions will be imposed on three North Korean officials as it called the regime’s human rights record among the world’s worst.

The sanctions announced by the Department of the Treasury target Choe Ryong-hae, widely seen as the right-hand man of leader Kim Jong Un, given his position as director of the Workers’ Party’s Organization and Guidance Department.

The two other officials on the list were Jong Kyong-thaek, the minister of state security, and Pak Kwang-ho, director of the party’s Propaganda and Agitation Department, tasked with “maintaining ideological purity”.

If the three officials have any assets in the United States, the sanctions ask for the banks to seized them. Any US-based financial transactions is banned with them. Such restrictions may have little impact on officials who hail from the “Hermit Kingdom,” yet still sends a strong message as North Korea seeks acceptance from the U.S.

North Korea is notorious for its human rights violations, especially when it comes to religious freedom. Once found, Christians are detained, tortured, or even killed for their faith. Since 2001, the United States has continued to designate North Korea as a “Country of Particular Concern” for religious freedom.

For interviews with Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: 
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