North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visiting a troubled terrapin farm in May 2015. Kim has since returned to the farm and praised farm workers for improvements. Last year, Kim had allegedly ordered the execution of the farm’s manager. File Photo by Rodong Sinmun
SEOUL, July 6 (UPI) -- In an unprecedented statement from the U.S. Treasury Department, Kim Jong Un was named a human-rights offender – the same day Pyongyang's state media reported Kim visited the terrapin farm where he allegedly ordered the manager executed in 2015.
The Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control placed Kim alongside other top North Korean officials and entities on a list of Pyongyang's worst human rights abusers.
The sanctions are being undertaken in coordination with the State Department and its publication of a report on North Korea human rights abuses.
"Human rights abuses in [North Korea] are among the worst in the world. The government continues to commit extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrest and detention, forced labor and torture. Many of these abuses are committed in the political prison camps, where an estimated 80,000 to 120,000 individuals are detained, including children and family members of the accused," State Department spokesman John Kirby said Wednesday.
The new designations were issued in accordance with an existing sanctions bill, Executive Order 13722, that targets people and organizations that have engaged in an "abuse or violation of human rights by the Government of North Korea or the Workers' Party of Korea."
The Treasury's Acting Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Adam J. Szubin said, "Under Kim Jong Un, North Korea continues to inflict intolerable cruelty and hardship on millions of its own people, including extrajudicial killings, forced labor and torture."
Sometimes Kim has been directly responsible for orders of summary execution, including the alleged death of the manager of a terrapin farm that did not meet Kim's standards.
Since the farm made headlines in May 2015, the facilities had been renovated for the cultivation of 200,000 soft-shelled turtles, according to KCNA on Wednesday.
Kim Jong Un had ordered the execution to make an example of the manager – and to reinforce North Korea's politics of fear, according to South Korea press.