UN human rights chief ‘hopeful’ Venezuelan authorities ready to address violations
UN HRC Chief: Political Crisis Exacerbates Human Rights Situation in Venezuela
Michelle Bachelet spoke at the meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva
Michelle Bachelet, the UN Commissioner for Human Rights, warned on Wednesday that the political crisis in Venezuela has exacerbated an already dire situation in the country. In a report presented today at a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Bachelet called on political forces in Venezuela to overcome the accumulated divisions.
The Bachelet report states that the increase in human rights violations leads to a further deterioration of the economic and social situation in the country, and ultimately to the destabilization of the entire region. More than 3 million Venezuelans have been forced to flee to neighboring countries in search of medical care, food, work and protection.
According to the UN Commissioner, peaceful protests and political opposition in the country are criminalized. HRC representatives have documented numerous cases of human rights violations in Venezuela, including killings by security forces and pro-government armed groups. Bachelet noted that during the nationwide anti-government protests earlier this year, protesters received threats, were illegally detained by security officials and tortured during their arrest..
Michelle Bachelet added that her department continues to investigate reports of hundreds of possible extrajudicial killings by the state special forces of the Bolivarian National Police (FAES).
The unstable political situation in the country, according to Bachelet, exacerbates the existing humanitarian crisis. Many Venezuelans suffer from hunger and the collapse of the health care system, which has already led to an increase in maternal and infant mortality. More than a million children are out of school because their parents cannot feed them and school feeding programs for children have ceased to function.
The UN Commissioner for Human Rights also warned that the recent US sanctions on financial transactions involving the sale of Venezuelan oil could exacerbate the economic crisis..
Jorge Valero, Venezuelan ambassador to the UN office in Geneva, accused the international media of “distorting the situation” with respect to human rights in his country. Valero said Venezuela is a “free and democratic” country, where the authorities allow peaceful protests. Valero accused part of the opposition of inciting violence “with the help of foreign funding”.
The Caracas spokesman also blamed the economic crisis in Venezuela on Washington, which, he said, deprived the Maduro regime of the opportunity to receive food and medicine for the country’s residents..