US sanctions North Korea's Kim Jong-un for rights abuses
July 7, Washington: The United States government has imposed sanctions on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for the first time, accusing him of human rights abuses.
A statement from the US Treasury named Kim as directly responsible for violations in his country.
Announcing the sanctions on Wednesday, the US Department of Treasury said Kim and 10 other top officials were behind the killing and torture of political prisoners in the country's system of political prison camps.
However, there has been no response yet from the North Korean government. The measures freeze any property the individuals have in the US and prevent US citizens doing business with them.
North Korea is already under an extensive sanctions regime, for its nuclear activities but analysts see the latest move as an escalation of US efforts to isolate the nation, reports said.
The Treasury statement further said: "Under Kim Jong-un, North Korea continues to inflict intolerable cruelty and hardsThe hip on millions of its own people, including extrajudicial killings, forced labour, and torture."
It estimates that between 80,000 and 120,000 prisoners are being held in North Korean prison camps where torture, sexual assault and executions are routine.
State Department spokesman John Kirby admitted the sanctions were unlikely to deter Mr Kim.
The US has imposed sanctions against other heads of state before, including Syria's Bashar al-Assad and former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
The Oslo Times International News Network