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FILE PHOTO - A North Korean flag flies on a mast at the Permanent Mission of North Korea in Geneva October 2, 2014. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo


GENEVA (Reuters) - North Korea called on Friday for a halt to what it called "brutal sanctions", saying the measures - imposed after its latest nuclear test - constituted genocide.

"Today the U.S.-led racket of brutal sanctions and pressure against the DPRK constitutes contemporary human rights violation and genocide," the North Korean mission to the United Nations in Geneva said in a statement.

The sanctions regime "threatens and impedes the enjoyment by the people of DPRK of their human rights in all sectors", it said.

The call for an immediate end to the sanctions comes as U.S. President Donald Trump sets off on a trip to Asia - including China, South Korea and Japan - looking for help to pressure North Korea to stand down from the nuclear crisis.

The global community has been ramping up the pressure on the isolated country after it conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test so far, on Sept. 3.

Last month the United States unilaterally imposed sanctions on seven North Korean individuals and three entities over what it called serious human rights abuses, including forced labour.

In September the U.N. Security Council strengthened its sanctions, including export bans as well as asset freezes and travel bans on various officials,

North Korea's response follows a U.N. expert last month saying international sanctions may be hurting key economic sectors and hampering the human rights of Pyongyang's citizens.

The sanctions meant that "some unprincipled countries have blocked the delivery of medical equipment and medicines", the North Korean mission said on Friday, with the supplies destined for children and mothers in the country.

"All types of anti-human rights and inhumane sanctions against the DPRK should be terminated immediately and thoroughly," it said.

(Reporting by John Revill; Editing by Alison Williams)

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