UN Human Rights chief urges Venezuela to halt grave rights violations

UN Photo/Laura Jarriel United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet (file).

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


The Venezuelan authorities should take immediate steps to halt widespread rights violations being perpetrated against the country’s people and work to resolve “this all-consuming crisis”, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Thursday.

Michelle Bachelet’s appeal to the Government of Nicolas Maduro comes ahead of her address to the Human Rights Council on Friday and follows her official visit to Venezuela from 19 to 21 June.

Her comments follow the publication of a new report by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on Venezuela, mandated by the Human Rights Council, in response to longstanding concerns by Member States.

Previous OHCHR reports have highlighted killings, the use of excessive force against
demonstrators, arbitrary detentions, ill-treatment and torture.

The latest publication warns that “if the situation does not improve, the unprecedented outflow of Venezuelan migrants and refugees will continue, and the living conditions of those who remain will worsen”.

In June, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said that some four million people are now believed to have left the country in the last four years, amid reportedly dire shortages of food and basic services.

“During my visit to Venezuela, I was able to hear first-hand the accounts of victims of State violence and their demands for justice,” Ms. Bachelet said. “I have faithfully conveyed their voices, and those of civil society, as well as the human rights violations documented in this report, to the relevant authorities.”

The OHCHR report’s findings are based on more than 550 interviews with victims and witnesses of abuses and the deteriorating economic situation in Venezuela and eight other countries.

In addition to detailing how State institutions have been “steadily militarized” over the past decade, it states that civil and military forces have been allegedly responsible for “arbitrary detentions, ill-treatment and torture” of critics of the Government; sexual and gender-based violence in detention and “excessive use of force during demonstrations”.

Pro-Government armed civilian groups in spotlight

Citing 66 deaths during protests between January and May 2019, of which 52 were attributable to Government security forces, or pro-Government armed civilian groups known as “colectivos”,  OHCHR maintains that, as of 31 May 2019, 793 people remained in arbitrary detention, including 58 women. “They contributed to the deteriorating situation by exercising social control and helping repress demonstrations,” the OHCHR report says of the “colectivos”.

Allegations of extrajudicial killings by security forces have been “shockingly high”, the report continues, citing the involvement of special forces (FAES).

In 2018, the Government registered 5,287 killings, purportedly for “resistance to authority” during operations, the report continues, adding that between 1 January and 19 May this year, another 1,569 people were killed, according to Government figures.

Turning to the country’s political crisis, the report notes that so far this year, 22 deputies of the National Assembly have been stripped of their parliamentary immunity, as well as to the forum’s leader and self-appointed interim President, Juan Guaido.

People ‘have to queue 10 hours per day for food’

On the plight of ordinary Venezuelans, OHCHR insists that “large sections of the population have no access to food distribution.

Women are particularly hard-hit, it continues, amid a “progressive scarcity and unaffordability of food” and reports that some are “spending an average of 10 hours per day queuing for food”.

Health provision is also described as “dire, with hospitals lacking staff, supplies, medicines and electricity to keep vital machinery running”.

Between November 2018 and February 2019, 1,557 people died because of lack of supplies in hospitals, the report notes, citing a national hospital survey.

Minorities lost land to military, armed groups

Indigenous peoples are also shown to have been disproportionately impacted, amid a loss of control of their land to military forces, organised criminal gangs and armed groups.

“Mining, particularly in Amazonas and Bolivar…has resulted in violations of various collective rights, including rights to maintain customs, traditional ways of life, and a spiritual relationship with their land,” the report adds.

In response to the report’s findings, the High Commissioner urged the Government to follow its recommendations. “We should all be able to agree that all Venezuelans deserve a better life, free from fear and with access to adequate food, water, healthcare, housing and all other basic human needs,” Ms. Bachelet said. “I call on all those with the power and influence – within Venezuela and elsewhere – to work together, and to make the necessary compromises to resolve this all-consuming crisis. My Office stands ready to continue doing its part.”

the sting Milestones

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

Syria: Civilians caught in crossfire, UN refugee chief urges Jordan to open its border

Miguel Arias Cañete European Commission

EU should invest more in climate and not sit back on its laurels and watch

Partner countries get €3bn in loans to prop up economies affected by pandemic

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

Autonomous vehicles could clog city centres: a lesson from Boston

Banks launch green charter to help shipping reduce its carbon footprint

What is a ‘vaccine passport’ and will you need one the next time you travel?

Migrants, asylum seekers detained in Hungary ‘deliberately deprived of food’: UN human rights office

A new approach to scaling-up renewable power in emerging markets

Think you’re safe at home? Think again. 5 household demons to be mindful about

Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon should be free to earn a living

Migration crisis update: mutual actions and solidarity needed as anti-migrant policies thrive

End ‘cycle of violence’ in Gaza, UN deputy chief tells forum on Palestine

Macro-Financial Assistance: Europe’s way to control Ukraine?

The UK’s River Thames has come back to life – with a seal population to prove it

Commission takes further action to ensure professionals can fully benefit from the Single Market

MEPs push for high ambitions at the COP25 in Madrid

Close to 7,000 evacuated from Syrian towns after enduring nearly 3-year siege

Coronavirus could trigger a hunger pandemic – unless urgent action is taken

Intensifying Negotiations on transatlantic Data Privacy Flows: A Joint Press Statement by European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo

5 Black heroes of the environmental movement

Why digital inclusion must be at the centre of resetting education in Africa

Here’s how we can rethink the way we eat meat

Europe’s richest regions actively seek investment from China’s biggest banks

A Union that strives for more: the first 100 days

Why rich countries are seeing more poverty

Mali just took a huge step towards universal healthcare

Can Europe and the US reverse their nationalist and xenophobic drift? Is the West becoming belligerent?

On the first day of 2019, over 395,000 babies to be born worldwide: UNICEF

3 ways business leaders can build digital trust

First EU collective redress mechanism to protect consumers

FROM THE FIELD: For refugees and migrants in Europe, healthcare’s essential but a challenge to find

GSMA head urges regulators to help Europe regain leadership

EU budget: Commission helps prepare new Cohesion programmes with Regional Competitiveness Index and Eurobarometer

A breath of fresh air: How three disused industrial areas became beautiful parks

New rules to help consumers join forces to seek compensation

Eurogroup: IMF proposes Germany disposes

Launch of Pact for Youth: European Youth Forum calls for real business engagement

We need to measure innovation better. Here’s how

Internet milestone reached, as more than 50 per cent go online: UN telecoms agency

Young activists share four ways to create a more inclusive world

ILO discusses world of work response to global refugee crisis

Tougher defence tools against unfair imports to protect EU jobs and industry

The EU Commission does nothing about the food retailing oligopoly

Do the giant banks ‘tell’ Britain to choose a good soft Brexit and ‘remain’ or else…?

Is Eurozone heading towards a long stagnation?

Euronest: delivering reforms is the best way forward for EU’s Eastern Partners

Gender equality and medicine in the 21st century: an equity unachieved

How we measure stakeholder capitalism will determine our recovery

The European Union’s Balkan Double Standard

Sustainable Development Summit: ‘We must step up our efforts – now’, Guterres declares

Is there a de facto impossibility for the Brexit to kick-start?

World Migratory Bird Day highlights deadly risks of plastic pollution

Migration surge leaves children stranded, begging on Djibouti’s streets

Cross-border cooperation: the EU Interreg programme celebrates 30 years of bringing citizens closer together

2,300 migrant children in Central American ‘caravan’ need protection, UNICEF says

Bringing nuclear test ban treaty into force a ‘central pillar’ of global disarmament push, says UN chief

HPV vaccine: the silver bullet that saves women

Are we at the edge of anti-vaccination health crisis?

Wednesday’s Daily Brief: #NoTobacco Day, China’s economy, family farming, #ClimateAction

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