1708027766 Venezuela expels the staff of the United Nations High Commissioner

Venezuela expels the staff of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Venezuela expels the staff of the United Nations High Commissioner

The Foreign Minister of Venezuela, Yvan Gil, announced this Thursday the expulsion of the staff of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from the country. The measure comes against the backdrop of tensions caused by the arrest of activist Rocío San Miguel and complaints from various organizations that this case is repeating a pattern of enforced disappearances by security forces. A total of 13 officials stationed in Caracas since 2019 following former High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet's visit to the country must suspend their activities and have 72 hours to leave Venezuela. “This office was used as an international sounding board and instrumentalized to maintain a discourse against the Bolivarian government,” Gil told a press conference.

Chavismo has resigned, breaking the channel that had been opened to investigate complaints of human rights violations on the ground and direct humanitarian assistance and recommendations to improve the country's justice system. The official pointed out that the commission has played “an inappropriate role” that “far from portraying it as an impartial entity, has led it to become a private law firm of coup plotters and terrorist groups who constantly oppose each other conspiring against the country.” Venezuela will conduct a comprehensive review of the terms of technical cooperation outlined in the Letter of Understanding over the next thirty days until Commission members “publicly rectify their colonialist, abusive and violative attitude” toward the Charter before the international community. of the United Nations.

The presence of the staff of the United Nations High Commissioner, authorized by the government of Nicolás Maduro in 2019 when the diplomatic siege intensified after the international community questioned his re-election in 2018, made it possible to document the worrying reports in Geneva on the human rights situation in Venezuela and the occurrence of cases of torture, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances and other serious violations.

Added to this was the work of the Independent Fact Finding Mission, whose mandate was renewed last year despite Venezuela's refusal, and which is dedicated to systematizing the persecution patterns of opponents and groups critical of the government.

Local NGOs have pressured the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to highlight the due process violations they have denounced in the case of lawyer San Miguel, who remains incommunicado six days after her arrest at Maiquetía airport was brought before a hearing without private assistance, in an act in which she was charged with the crimes of conspiracy, terrorism and treason.

The international community has raised renewed alarm about this case and both the European Union and the United States have called for his release. But according to Venezuelan prosecutors, San Miguel is involved in one of five plots to allegedly assassinate President Maduro denounced by Venezuelan authorities last month. So far, only the edited and abridged recordings of the statement of a former military man arrested in December have been presented as evidence in this case.

Tensions between the government and the United Nations also increased from another perspective. In addition, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Michael Fakhri, paid a two-week visit to the country this week. He then concluded that the food crisis in the country continues and made harsh comments about the program. for the sale of low-cost food bags from the Clap (Local Supply and Production Committees), noting that it was a “customer system” and that it did not correspond to the nutritional and quality values ​​that should be guaranteed by the Commission State.

Chavismo has hardened again in the presidential election race, in which Maduro is at the nadir of his popularity and in which, according to most polls, more than 85% of the population want political change for the country. He used legal means to block the candidacy of María Corina Machado, the main opposition leader, and also arrested several of his associates and implicated them in the alleged conspiracy plans.

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