Human rights Venezuela expels UN employees

Human rights: Venezuela expels UN employees

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Yvan Gil announced on Thursday that he would “suspend the activities” of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in the country and ordered the departure of his staff within 72 hours.

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“We regret this announcement and are currently reviewing the next steps. We continue to work with authorities and other stakeholders. Our guiding principle has been and remains the promotion and protection of the human rights of the Venezuelan people,” OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani responded.

The OHCHR, led by Volker Türk, previously had its right to defend itself in the network.

Minister Gil condemned the “inappropriate role that this institution has developed, which, far from showing itself to be an impartial entity, has led it to become the private office of coup plotters and terrorists who are constantly plotting against the country. “

The suspension will remain in effect “until they publicly rectify their colonialist, abusive stance in violation of the United Nations Charter before the international community,” he added.

Ms. San Miguel, a Venezuelan and Spanish national, is accused of “treason,” “terrorism” and “conspiracy” for being “directly linked” to an attack aimed at assassinating President Nicolas Maduro, according to Venezuela's attorney general Tarek William Saab, who on Tuesday criticized “a wild campaign from abroad against the Venezuelan judiciary and the Venezuelan state.”

The European Union and the United States had also expressed “concern” about the fate of the lawyer, NGO director and military specialist arrested at Caracas airport on February 9. Her ex-husband was also arrested in this conspiracy case for which 19 people were arrested.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights was established in Venezuela in 2019 under the leadership of former OHCHR President Michelle Bachelet. Its main task is to “support the effective implementation of the recommendations” contained in the reports submitted by the High Commissioner to the Human Rights Council.

Since 2019, there have been at least six reports on the situation in Venezuela.

Volker Türk visited Venezuela in January 2023 at the invitation of Caracas and spoke to President Nicolas Maduro about the human rights situation in the country.

Mr. Türk and his delegation also met with NGOs, civil society representatives and victims who denounced “systematic violations.”

“Wave of Repression”

The United Nations Human Rights Council, an intergovernmental United Nations body made up of 47 states, also established an independent fact-finding mission to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in 2019.

In a report on Tuesday, the mission denounced a “wave of repression against opponents” that is intensifying in the country.

According to the fact-finding mission's president, Marta Valinas, “these are not isolated incidents, but a series of events that appear to be part of a coordinated plan to silence critics and perceived opponents.”

Francisco Cox, a member of the mission, argued that “the Venezuelan state has violated the human rights of dozens of people by investigating groups of suspected conspirators and denying those persecuted and detained the exercise of the most basic rights.”

“If the State has the right to initiate investigations, it must do so with full respect for human rights and without committing international crimes,” he added, referring in particular to “detentions and threats of detention including members of the National Pre-Election Commission.” as political party activists who won the opposition primaries, and the exclusion of political leaders, including opposition leader Maria Corina Machado, from public office.”