The European Council (EC) announced on Monday it had renewed sanctions against over a dozen human rights violators, including two high-ranking North Korean officials and the country’s top public prosecutor’s office.
The sanctions regime, which was established in Dec. 2020, targets individuals and entities accused of heinous crimes against humanity.
In March, the EC expanded sanctions to include North Korean Minister of Social Security Ri Yong Gil, Minister of State Security Jong Kyong Thaek and North Korea’s Central Public Prosecutor’s Office. The resolutions specifically name Ri and Jong’s involvement in a range of grievous crimes, including suppression of political dissent, arbitrary executions, forced disappearances and sexual violence.
“This action reflects the E.U.’s intent to continue imposing targeted sanctions against violators of human rights, whether in Burma, Belarus, North Korea or any other jurisdiction,” Jason Bartlett, a sanctions researcher with the Center for New American Security (CNAS), told NK News.
“However, North Korea has already acclimated to an isolated environment where it relies on illicit activity and trade to circumvent economic sanctions,” he cautioned, adding that the move was more likely intended to “name and shame” North Korean officials, rather than substantively move the needle on human rights.
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