In Venezuela, Bachelet calls on Government to release prisoners, appeals for ‘bold steps towards compromise’

@UNHCR/Vincent Tremeau Venezuelan migrant in Colombia. About 5,000 people have been crossing borders daily to leave Venezuela over the past year, according to UN data. Colombia, April 2019.

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

Speaking at the end of the first-ever official mission to Venezuela by a UN human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet called on the Government to release all those detained for peacefully protesting and announced that a team from her office would remain in Caracas to monitor the human rights situation.

The High Commissioner for Human Rights arrived in the beleagured South American nation on Wednesday at the invitation of the Government of Nicolas Maduro, having expressed deep concern in an address to the Human Rights Council in March, over the country’s “dramatically” deteriorating rights situation overall, and the “continued criminalization of peaceful protest and dissent”.

Speaking to reporters on Friday night at the Maiquetia international airport, Ms. Bachelet – a former two-term president of Chile – said the Government had agreed the new OHCHR team would provide technical help and advice and “continue to monitor the human rights situation in Venezuela.”

“In my meetings with victims and their families, their deep yearning for justice for grave human rights violations was made painfully clear”, she said. “I sincerely hope that our assessment, advice and assistance will help strengthen torture prevention and access to justice in Venezuela. The Government has also agreed that my team will be guaranteed full access to detention centres to be able to monitor conditions and speak to detainees.”

She met President Maduro and other senior ministers, as well as the opposition leader, Juan Guaido, who declared himself interim president in January, sparking a deepening political crisis in the deeply divided country, which has now seen more than 4 million Venezuelans flee across the border.

“I also met victims of human rights violations and their families”, said Ms. Bachelet. “The man who told of his brother’s torture, humiliation and killing by hooded FAES security officers in a raid on his house – and the many other heartbroken families whose loved ones suffered a similar fate…The mother whose 14-year-old child was shot during demonstrations on 30 April this year. People who suffered horrific torture in detention.”

She said she had also met “victims of violence against Government supporters. A mother whose young son, a Government supporter, was set on fire during the 2017 protests and spent 15 agonising days in hospital before he died.”

All had testified to “how astonishingly the humanitarian situation in Venezuela has deteriorated, including with regards to the rights to food, water, healthcare, education and other economic and social rights.”

Around 75 per cent of the national budget is now going on social programmes for all, she said, “however, we have heard from Venezuelans who are fully employed – many in the public sector – who have difficulty affording medicine and adequate food.”

Healthcare collapse ‘extremely critical’

The human rights chief said the health situation “continues to be extremely critical”, citing rising costs, lack of availability of medicines, and a rise now in teenage pregnancies, with maternal and newborn mortality rates also ticking up.

“I have called on the Government to ensure that essential data related to healthcare and other economic and social rights is made available to enable all actors to accurately assess and seek to adequately manage the situation”, she said.

Highlighting a recent strengthening of UN agencies on the ground, she said she had discussed the need to address the causes of the multiple crises, while also expressing concern at the crippling effect of sanctions imposed by the United States on oil exports, and gold trading, which “are exacerbating and aggravating the pre-existing economic crisis.”

She called on leaders “across the spectrum” to find a way to ease the suffering of the people: “The crises can only be resolved through the meaningful, sincere participation and inclusion of actors from various sectors of society.”

“The fate of more than 30 million Venezuelans rests upon the leadership’s willingness and ability to put the human rights of the people ahead of any personal, ideological or political ambitions”, she said, adding that she understood the mood of national scepticism, after years of decay and turmoil, that any political compromise is possible.

“Holding firmly to entrenched positions on either side will only escalate the crisis – and the people of Venezuela cannot afford further deterioration of the situation in the country” said Ms. Bachelet.

“I call for bold steps towards compromise, to set aside short-term wins for medium-term and long-term gains for the entire country”, she added, with reference to discussions between Government and opposition, underway in Norway. “The talks can succeed, as long as they are inclusive and those involved respond to the very real urgency to ensure their success.”







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

Yemen agreement to end southern power struggle ‘important step’ towards peace: UN Special Envoy

Jeroen Dijsselbloem new Eurogroup president

Deep science: what it is, and how it will shape our future

Parliament: Last compromise on bank single resolution mechanism

UN unveils global influenza strategy to prevent ‘real’ threat of pandemic

More than 3,400 classrooms damaged or destroyed by Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, says UN Children’s Fund

‘Reaffirm the sanctity’ of religious sites, says Guterres, launching new plan to ‘counter hate and violence’

How will the NATO-EU competition evolve in the post Brexit era?

Migration policy affects attractiveness of OECD countries to international talent

There are more than 1 billion guns in the world and this is who owns them

UN condemns deadly attack on Burkina Faso church

Inflation down to 0.7%, unemployment up at 12.2%: Bad omens for Eurozone

ECB offers cheaper money despite reactions from Germany

4 big trends for the sharing economy in 2019

First 17 “European Universities” selected: a major step towards building a European Education Area

Northern Ireland: Parliament wants to secure post-Brexit regional funding

Scientists in Sweden are studying the climate-cooling effects of spruce forests

UN, African Union make significant joint commitment to global health

“A sustainable economy, low-carbon, resource-efficient, resilient and more competitive on the global stage”, EU Commissioner Vella in a Sting Exclusive

Good grub: why we might be eating insects soon

Financial inclusion in India is soaring. Here’s what must happen next

Parliament demands ban on neo-fascist and neo-Nazi groups in the EU

These countries are leading the way in green finance

Eurozone to enter the winter…

Moving from commitment to action on LGBTI equality

New Erasmus: more opportunities for disadvantaged youth

How has tech been used for good in civil society? We asked the experts

UN Security Council welcomes results of Mali’s presidential elections

Whose interests are protected by the new Mortgage Directive?

We need to deep clean the oceans. Here’s how to pay for it

Obama, Crimea and the TTIP pill

International co-operation vital to improve integration of refugees

Italian archaeological trafficking group dismantled

These are the world’s most competitive economies

UN Assembly calls on all States to observe Olympic Truce throughout Tokyo Summer Games

D-Day for Grexit is today and not Friday; Super Mario is likely to kill the Greek banks still today

Agreement reached on new EU measures to prevent electricity blackouts

UN chief condemns deadly attacks in Afghanistan

Inflation keeps falling in Eurozone

EU-Turkey relations: Erdogan plays the refugee card while beefing up gas operations in the Eastern Mediterranean sea

E-cigarettes are killing us softly with their vapor

Opening Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Yang Yanyi, Head of the Chinese Mission to the EU at the Chinese Fashion Night

This new solar technology can be printed or woven into fabric

Transparency and tech together can safeguard taxpayers’ money

To realise the full potential of AI, we must regulate it differently

Facebook: MEPs demand a full audit by EU bodies to assess data protection

Look no hands: self-driving vehicles’ public trust problem

UN Mission in Haiti calls on protestors, authorities, to refrain from violence

Predatory labour taxation not an issue for the Commission

European Commission steps up protection of European intellectual property in global markets

Banks launch green charter to help shipping reduce its carbon footprint

Impressions of China

China’s impact as a global investor; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

Despite progress towards peace, Afghanistan facing ‘daunting challenges’ ahead of presidential vote

Military operation in northeast Syria could see unintentional release of ISIL affiliates: UN chief

Paris agreed with Berlin over a loose and ineffective banking union

Impact of high debt levels on least developed countries ‘cannot be overstated’, says UN

Your chocolate can help save the planet. Here’s how

Athens urged to fast track asylum seekers amid island shelters crisis – UNHCR

Here’s why leaders need to care about mental health

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

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

You are commenting using your 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