The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) published a report today in which it deplores the Maduro regime’s human rights abuses, including the impunity with which its officials carry them out. The Office’s High Commissioner, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, said in Geneva today while presenting the report that the regime “appears neither able nor willing to prosecute serious human rights violations”, a fact he argues could justify “deeper involvement” by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The failure to hold security forces accountable for such serious human rights violations suggests that the rule of law is virtually absent in Venezuela (…) For years now, institutional checks and balances and the democratic space in Venezuela have been chiseled away, leaving little room to hold the State to account. The impunity must end.
The last report on the Venezuelan crisis from the OHCHR came in August 2017. The United Nations described that report and the one released today in the following manner:
The report provides an update on several key human rights violations documented in the August 2017 UN Human Rights Office report on Venezuela. While the previous report focused on the excessive use of force and alleged extrajudicial killings in the context of demonstrations, this new report also documents credible, shocking accounts of extrajudicial killings in the course of purported crime-fighting operations carried out since 2015, known as the Operations for the Liberation of the People (OLPs).
The report concludes with a set of recommendations for the United Nations Human Rights Council and the Maduro regime. Among the recommendations:
- “Direct and unfettered access to the country” to OHCHR observers so that they can conduct a “comprehensive assessment of the human rights situation”;
- “Immediate measures” to bring an end to the use of “excessive force” by regime authorities as expressed in extrajudicial killings and other police violence;
- A “halt [to] all arbitrary detentions”, as well as the “full release” and compensation to all victims of arbitrary detentions;
- Regime officials should publicly condemn “all cases of torture and ill-treatment”, and “take prompt measures” to end their practice;
- An end to the “limiting [of] the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly”.
In suggesting that the human rights crisis in Venezuela warrants the involvement of the ICC, Al Hussein follows the recommendation of an expert panel from the Organization of American States (OAS) made on May 29 to forward the Venezuelan case to The Hague.
A UN spokesperson said that secretary general Antonio Guterres found the figures in the OHCHR document “truly shocking”.
At the conclusion of an eight-month investigation, the OAS report concluded that there are “reasonable grounds” to believe that Maduro regime officials have committed crimes against humanity in their brutal repression of dissent in Venezuela.
Regime Calls Report, High Commissioner’s Comments “Politicized”
The Maduro regime reacted to the comments made in Geneva today by High Commissioner Al Hussain and the OHCHR report today, saying that they were “politicized”
A statement posted on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website partly reads:
The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela categorically rejects the report on the supposed human rights situation in the country published by the Office of the High Commissioner of the United Nations for Human Rights [sic], which is the result of a highly questionable methodology that undermines the credibility and technical rigour demanded of an Office of this nature and threatens the principles of objectivity, impartiality and non-bias.
The statement goes on to argue that because Venezuela did not grant permission to the OHCHR to compile the report, it is an “arbitrary act” and therefore not reliable.
Caracas Nurses Ready for Monday Strike
Nurses in Caracas are set to go on an indefinite strike this coming Monday June 25. Starting on that day, nurses will only treat emergency patients in the city’s healthcare facilities.
Ana Rosario Contreras, the president of the Capital District College of Nurses, told Union Radio that the nurses are going on strike to demand better wages, and that they would remain at work during the strike. Contreras said:
This is going to be a strike with a presence. We are going to be in our hospitals. All routine activities will be suspended. We will only attend surgical emergencies and intensive care (cases), along with any other procedure that constitutes a risk to the lives of our patients.
Contreras also called on the unions representing nurses in other parts of the country to join the strike, and that she was already seeing indications that some would do so.
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