For the First Time, US Sanctions Pyongyang’s Kim Jong Un for Human Rights Abuses
For the first time, the United States has put North Korea's leader on the U.S. sanctions list for human rights abuses.
Kim Jong Un is among 23 entities and individuals placed on Washington's blacklist for their role in serious human rights violations, hunting down defectors or censorship in North Korea.
“We have identified 23 individuals and entities in our report, one of those individuals is Kim Jong Un, we have made the judgment that he is rather plainly, ultimately responsible for the actions of his regime including its repressive policies towards his own people,” a senior U.S. official announced Wednesday.
The State Department said human rights abuses in North Korea are among the worst in the world. Many of these abuses are committed in political prison camps, where an estimated 80,000 to 120,000 individuals are detained, including children and family members of the accused.
Obama to Maintain 8,400 Troops in Afghanistan
U.S. President Barack Obama’s plan to maintain 8,400 U.S. troops in Afghanistan through the end of his presidency leaves many unanswered questions about the best path forward as the security situation continues to worsen, experts said.
The administration had initially planned to reduce the number of U.S. troops from the current 9,800 to around 5,500 by the end of 2016.
But Obama announced Wednesday the security situation in Afghanistan "remains precarious" and so he is leaving more troops than originally planned through the end of his term, which ends January 20, 2017.
"The Taliban remains a threat. They have gained ground in some cases, they have continued attacks and suicide bombings including in Kabul," Obama said. "Because the Taliban deliberately target civilians more Afghan men, women and children are dying and often overlooked in the global refugee crisis."
Obama said leaving more troops in Afghanistan when he leaves office will give the next U.S. president “a solid foundation for continued progress in Afghanistan as well as the flexibility to address the threat of terrorism as it evolves.”