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.”

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

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

The Indian miracle state pointing the way to global sustainability

7 ways the ‘biological century’ will transform healthcare

UN chief welcomes announcement by Emir of Qatar to allocate $50 million to support Syrian refugees, displaced persons

Future of Insurance Claims in Focus at Fourth Annual Connected Claims Europe Summit

Greece bailout programme: Full agreement after marathon negotiations on debt relief between IMF and Eurozone

Infringements: Commission adapts its calculation methodology for financial sanctions

High-flyers: China is on top of the world for skyscraper construction

Here are five tips to make your message clear in a crowded world

Iran: women hunger strikers entitled to medical care, UN rights experts urge

Education should be like everything else. An on-demand service

Intel @ MWC14: Our Love Story with Mobile – Transforming Wireless Networks

France and Germany can’t reach consensus regarding EU’s top jobs

Britain declares trade war on mainland Europe

Cyclone Fani hits India, UN moves to protect vulnerable refugees in Bangladesh

Sudan: ‘Exercise utmost restraint’ urges Guterres as thousands march in Khartoum, sparking deadly clashes

EU Elections: new rules to prevent breaches of data used to influence elections

How robotics can help humanitarians bridge the digital divide

Chart of the day: Why marine protected sites matter more than ever

Towards a zero tobacco public space in Cameroon

EU: Turkey to shelter Syrian refugees and turn other immigrants back in return of €3 billion

Yemen ceasefire deal: ‘Potential’ now to restore humanitarian lifeline to millions

A money laundering case on Vatican Bank’s road to renovation

Over 40 million people still victims of slavery

Meet the Junior Enterprise network at JEWC 2014!

‘We need to do more’ to transform the world, deputy UN chief tells African audiences

Engaging women and girls in science ‘vital’ for Sustainable Development Goals

Creating shared value: an opportunity and challenge for entrepreneurship

In Christchurch, UN chief calls for tolerance, solidarity to extinguish ‘wildfire’ of hate speech

2013, a Political Odyssey: What future for Italy?

Parliament approves €104.2m in EU aid to Greece, Spain, France and Portugal

This is why mountains matter more than you think

FROM THE FIELD: Finding refuge in the ‘beautiful game’

Tackling terrorism: MEPs approve tighter rules on homemade explosives

Commission reports on progress in risk reduction in the Banking Union and calls for faster progress on Capital Markets Union ahead of EU Leaders’ meetings

The gender gap of medicine in 2018

Employers’ organizations work towards improving the enabling environment for sustainable enterprises

High level political talks didn’t break the stalemate in Ukraine

What is the Coral Triangle?

EU will not deliver on promises without democratic accountability

Will Qualcomm avoid Broadcom’s hostile takeover post the 1 bn euro EU antitrust fine?

How Africa’s women can drive the 4IR forward

New UN Syria envoy pledges to work ‘impartially and diligently’ towards peace

Eurozone: Inflation plunge to 0.4% in July may trigger cataclysmic developments

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: #GlobalGoals progress, essential meds, updates from Cox’s Bazar, Sudan and DR Congo

Praising Roma’s contributions in Europe, UN expert urges end to rising intolerance and hate speech

EU leaders agree on 2030 Climate and Energy Package: is “flexible” brave enough?

Commission: New proposal for centrally managed bank resolution

The Peoples are missing from EU’s monetary union

What can the private sector do to alleviate the refugee crisis?

Moratorium call on surveillance technology to end ‘free-for-all’ abuses: UN expert

Snowden is the “EU nomination” for this year’s Oscars

A Europe that protects: EU reports on progress in fighting disinformation ahead of European Council

How to build a model for human security in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Your next pair of sneakers could be made from coffee

Mobility package: Parliament adopts position on overhaul of road transport rules

Promoting rule of law and fundamental rights in the EU

EU budget deal struck with Parliament negotiators

Female African coders ‘on the front-line of the battle’ to change gender power relations: UN chief

UN emergency relief fund has ‘never been more critical’: Guterres

‘Multiplicity’ of rights violations in Ukraine as fifth winter of conflict bites

More Stings?

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