Venezuela: ‘A worrying destabilizing factor in the region’, Bachelet tells Human Rights Council

© UNHCR/Siegfried Modola Venezuelan refugees and migrants cross the Simon Bolivar Bridge into Colombia, one of seven legal entry points on the Colombia-Venezuela border.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


Expressing deep concern at the “magnitude and gravity of the human rights impact” of Venezuela’s current crisis, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said on Wednesday that the country had become “a worrying destabilizing factor in the region.”

Amid a protracted crisis from a faltering economy, political instability and violent anti-Government demonstrations, a technical team of five OHCHR staff members are currently touring the country, which rights chief Michelle Bachelet, described as “a positive first step”.

She highlighted “dramatically” deteriorating “economic and social rights”, exacerbated by the recent electricity blackout and expressed concern about the “continued criminalization of peaceful protest and dissent”.

The UN rights chief cited reports of numerous violations and abuses by security forces and pro-Government armed groups, including the excessive use of force, killings, arbitrary detentions, torture, threats and intimidation.

She said her Office was continuing to investigate reports of “possible extrajudicial executions by security forces”, naming the Special Actions Force or FAES, as reportedly responsible for killing “at least 205 persons. A further 37 were reportedly killed in the course of January 2019 in Caracas”, she added.

“It appears that some of these killings have followed a similar pattern. They take place during illegal house raids carried out by the FAES, which subsequently reports the death as resulting from an armed confrontation – although witnesses report the victims were unarmed,” said Ms. Bachelet.

I am also concerned about increasing restrictions on freedom of expression and of the press in Venezuela,” she said, “and the allegations that the authorities have arbitrarily used the law against hatred, adopted in November 2017, to prosecute journalists, opposition leaders and anyone expressing dissenting opinions.”

Divisions are exacerbating an already critical situation” the rights chief said, arguing that there was “a need for common agreement on a political solution by all stakeholders, with actions to improve a wide range of urgent human rights issues. I call on the authorities to take steps to demonstrate their real commitment to addressing the many challenging issues reported across the country.”

Minimal progress on accountability in Sri Lanka

Turning to Sri Lanka, Ms. Bachelet said that despite progress on some issues, “there has been minimal progress on accountability” including on setting up a special judicial mechanism to deal with the worst crimes committed during the 2009 conflict between the Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in the north-east of the country.

“Continuing impunity risks fuelling communal or inter-ethnic violence, and instability”, she spelled out, calling for the establishment of an independent Truth and Reconciliation Commission and a vetting process to remove officers with questionable human rights records.

“This Council continues to have an essential role in accompanying the Government and people of Sri Lanka in their journey towards realizing the dignity, and rights of all members of society, irrespective of their sex, ethnic origin or belief”, she concluded.

A ‘glimmer of hope’ in Yemen’s ‘dire situation’

On Yemen, Ms. Bachelet noted that while the fragile ceasefire in Hudaydah presents “a glimmer of hope”, the situation across the rest of the country is “dire’.

More than 24 million people need aid, with 14.3 million in acute need, she told the Council. Moreover, basic resources have become “a luxury that few can afford”.

“Salaries of teachers, doctors, nurses and other public employees have gone unpaid for years” she stressed.

Meanwhile, “periodic airstrikes, shelling and landmines continue to kill and maim civilians” and children continue to be conscripted or enlisted into armed forces or groups, she added.

The UN rights chief expressed particular concern about a recent escalation of hostilities in Hajjah governorate, where preliminary reports indicate that 22 people were killed earlier this month and thousands of families displaced.

“All States, including those not involved in the armed conflict, have the obligation to take measures to ensure that parties to a conflict respect the Conventions”, she stated, calling “conditioning, limiting or refusing arms transfers” one such measure.         

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Road to Brexit: the UK seeks early agreement on Data Privacy with the EU

UN and Red Cross chiefs appeal for end to use of explosive weapons in cities

‘The welfare of the Libyan people’ the UN’s sole agenda for the country, says Guterres in Tripoli

ECB indicates south Europeans can endure more austerity

Council strongly criticised over failing to act to protect EU values in Hungary

Why home is the least safe place to be a woman

COVID-19 not yet a pandemic, says UN health agency chief

Spanish vote – bad luck for Greece: Does Iphigenia need to be sacrificed for favourable winds to blow in Eurozone?

The European Sting’s 2018 in most critical review

SDG progress ‘in danger’ of going backwards without change in direction, new UN report reveals

An enlightened response to COVID-19 can avert the climate emergency

Reducing deforestation means getting serious about environmental crime

Hiring more female leaders is good for profits. Here’s the evidence

IMF: European banks do not perform their duty to real economy

#UNGA NEWS ROUNDUP: Funding plea for UNRWA, Burkina Faso and CAR updates, Guterres praises climate change ‘pioneer’ Chirac

Towards a zero tobacco public space in Cameroon

The water where baby fish are outnumbered 7 to 1 by plastic

Modern farming is harming the planet. Tech-driven permaculture could heal it

Could the pandemic usher in a golden age of cycling?

Electronic Cigarettes: Are they really as safe as we think?

Thursday’s Daily Brief: Women in peacekeeping, the arrest of Sudan’s leader, updates on Libya, Nigeria and Syria

Resettlement: EU Member States’ pledges exceed 30,000 places for 2020

COVID-19: Commission provides guidance on EU passenger rights

‘Internal security’ or how to compromise citizens’ rights and also make huge profits

Legendary Harlem Globetrotters slam-dunk at the UN, with message that brings families, nations together

China and China-EU Relations in the New Era

Colombia is a Latin American success story, but must pursue new reforms to achieve stronger and more inclusive growth

What next for Europe? Three (completely) different Davos views

Agreement reached on new EU measures to prevent electricity blackouts

A ‘charismatic leader’ dedicated to making the world a better place for all: officials bid farewell to former UN chief Kofi Annan

How tiny countries top social and economic league tables (and win at football, too)

Why Indian students are going abroad to become Doctors?

Venezuelans brave torrential border river, face exploitation, abuse – UN urges greater protection

3 ways blockchain can revolutionize global supply chains

China is winning the electric vehicle race

My experience living with depression and schizophrenia in Thailand

5 principles for effective cybersecurity leadership in a post-COVID world

Drugs cost too much. There is a better way to fund medical innovation

Factories are no longer the sure route to prosperity. Here’s why

A 3-step plan for carbon-neutral cars

UN welcomes Angola’s repeal of anti-gay law, and ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation

FROM THE FIELD: India’s plastic waste revolution

Putting a price on carbon will help New York state achieve a clean energy future

‘Act fast and do whatever it takes’ to fight the COVID-19 crisis, say leading economists

A Sting Exclusive: “Infrastructure can lay the groundwork for the Sustainable Development Goals” by Mr Fulai Sheng, UN Environment Senior Economist

Europe might not avoid new partitioning on Ukrainian crisis

Ecofin: ‘The Friday battle’ for the banking union

Boris Johnson’s no-deal Brexit to differ when issued from 10 Downing St.

Fair and Simple Taxation: Commission proposes new package of measures to contribute to Europe’s recovery and growth

How to stop data leaks

President David Sassoli to visit Skopje: “Remain on the European track”

UN General Assembly celebrates 20 years of promoting a culture of peace

E-Governance: A powerful tool to combat, mitigate and sustainably manage disaster risks

Environment Committee MEPs vote to upgrade EU civil protection capacity

This year’s Earth Hour is going digital due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Banks promise easing of credit conditions in support of the real economy

UN and African Union in ‘common battle’ for development and climate change financing

How teaching ‘future resilient’ skills can help workers adapt to automation

IMAGINATION, FACTS AND OPPORTUNITIES – THE UNLIMITED POWER OF CHINA

Five years on from ISIL ‘caliphate’ proclamation in Iraq, Security Council makes first-ever visit

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s