Sanctions Current Affairs

UNSC unanimously adopts new sanctions against North Korea

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has unanimously passed new set of tougher sanctions against North Korea over its sixth and most powerful nuclear test (claimed to be Hydrogen bomb).

It was overall the ninth sanctions resolution unanimously adopted by UNSC since 2006 over North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs. The new sanctions imposes ban on North Korea’s textile exports and capping imports of crude oil.

New sanctions include

It limits on imports of crude oil and oil products to North Korea. It bans exports of textiles, which is North Korea’s second-biggest export worth more than $700million a year. It also limits North Koreans from working overseas, which may cut off $500 million of tax revenue per year.

Background

In recent months, North Korea under the leadership of Kim Jong-un had staged series of missile tests including ICBMs that appeared to bring much of US mainland into range. It was followed up with sixth nuclear test on September 3, 2017 which was the largest to date, was claimed to be a miniaturized hydrogen bomb. The US and its Asian allies argue that tougher sanctions will put pressure on North Korea to come to the negotiation table to discuss end to its nuclear and missile tests. Russia and China, which are close allies of North Korea also are pushing for talks. They have proposed suspension of US-South Korean military drills for freezing North Korea’s missile and nuclear tests.

United Nations Security Council (UNSC)

UNSC is one of six principal organs of the United Nations Organisation (UNO). Its mandate is to maintain international peace and security. UNSC has 15 members, including five permanent viz. China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and United States. Each of the five permanent members has veto power.

Its powers include establishment of peacekeeping operations, imposing international sanctions, and authorization of collective military action against through resolutions. It is the only UN body with the authority to issue binding resolutions to member states.

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US designates Hizbul Mujahideen as Foreign Terrorist Organisation

The United States has named Pakistan based Kashmiri terrorist outfit Hizbul Mujahideen as a “Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO)”. The designation slaps a series of US sanctions on the outfit.

With this, Hizb Mujahideen joins the other terrorist outfits Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) on the US list of FTO designated in 2001. Moreover, two other anti-India groups, al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (2016) and Indian Mujahideen (2011) are also in the list.

What does it means?

Such designations expose and isolate terrorist groups and individuals, and deny them access to the US financial system. It also assists the law enforcement activities of US agencies and other governments. It blocks all of Hizbul Mujahideen’s property and interests in property subject to US jurisdiction. It also prohibits US citizens from engaging in any transactions with the group. It purpose is to deny Hizbul Mujahideen the resources it needs to carry out terrorist attacks.

Background

The designation comes against the backdrop of upsurge in the terror activities of the militant group in Kashmir in recent months. Earlier in June 2017, US had adding the Hizbul Mujahideen’s Pakistan-based chief Syed Salahuddin to its list of designated global terrorists.

Comment

The US decision to designate Hizbul Mujahideen as FTO marks a severe blow to Pakistan which has been projecting the militant group as a voice of Kashmiri people. It also validates India’s position on cross-border terrorism as the reason behind the Kashmir issue and the support terrorist organisations getting from Pakistan. It will also help India to put the squeeze on Pakistan, whose top political and military leaders are portraying Hizb cadres as “freedom fighters” at a time of heightened terrorist activity in Kashmir.

About Hizbul Mujahideen

Hizbul Mujahideen (meaning “Party of Holy Warriors”) is one of the largest and oldest terrorist groups operating in Kashmir. It was started in 1989 by Muhammad Ahsan Dar as Kashmiri separatist group and holds pro-Pakistan ideology. Its current commander is a Sayeed Salahudeen who is based in Rawalpindi and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). It has been already designated a terrorist organisation by India and European Union.

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