Venezuela expels UN human rights officials February 15, 2024 World

Caracas | AFP and Portal

The Chancellor of Venezuela, Yvan Gil, announced this Thursday (15) the government's decision to suspend the activities of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in the country, established in 2019, and ordered the departure of its staff in 72 hours .

The announcement came after a statement from the UN body expressing “deep concern” over the imprisonment of Venezuelan activist Rocío San Miguel, a critic of dictator Nicolás Maduro, who has been accused of terrorism the regime regularly accuses opponents of plotting coups and even the assassination of Maduro, all allegations vehemently rejected by opposition parties and their members.

“This decision is taken due to the inappropriate role of this institution, which, far from presenting itself as an impartial entity, has become a private law firm of the group of coup plotters and terrorists who are constantly conspiring against the country,” he said the Chancellor this Thursday.

He noted that the decision would be upheld until the High Commission “publicly rectifies its colonialist, abusive attitude and violation of the United Nations Charter before the international community.” Gil added that the regime will review the terms of technical cooperation outlined in the memorandum of understanding signed with the commissioner within the next 30 days.

“We regret this announcement and are considering next steps. We continue to work with authorities and other interested parties,” Ravina Shamdasani, spokeswoman for the UN body, told Portal. “Our guiding principle has been and remains the promotion and protection of the human rights of the Venezuelan people.”

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights established its office in Venezuela in 2019, when former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet held the top post on the body. Before leaving office, she said she had seen progress on human rights in Venezuela but said there was still much work to be done.

His successor, Volker Türk, visited Venezuela in January 2023, when it was agreed that the office would continue to exist for another two years. During his stay, he encouraged authorities to release all those arbitrarily detained and insisted on taking measures to end torture.

On this occasion, the Commissioner met with various sectors of civil society and government authorities and addressed complaints about extrajudicial killings. He noted that access to some detention centers in the country is restricted.

The main task of the Office was 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 documents on the situation in Venezuela.

The most recent report, published in July 2023, reported hundreds of cases of torture, as well as censorship and a lack of transparency. The document cited the closure of television and radio stations and the blocking of news websites.