Venezuela orders the closure of the UN human rights office.com2F2a2Fe32F19a67385707ec97f652dc44210262Fbc810fad2a6e46a98445a7d8ca8f1483

Venezuela orders the closure of the UN human rights office and the withdrawal of its staff within three days

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The Venezuelan government on Thursday ordered the local U.N. office for human rights to suspend operations and gave its staff 72 hours to leave the office, accusing the office of opposing the move to promote South American country.

Foreign Minister Yván Gil announced the decision at a press conference in the capital Caracas. Gil's announcement followed the detention of human rights lawyer Rocio San Miguel, which sparked a wave of criticism inside and outside the South American country.

Gil said the office, the local technical advisory office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, had been used by the international community “to maintain a discourse” against Venezuela.

It was not immediately clear whether the Venezuelan government had directly informed the United Nations of its order to close the office.

San Miguel was arrested at the airport near Caracas on Friday while she and her daughter waited for their flight to Miami. Authorities only confirmed her detention on Sunday, and her lawyer was not allowed to meet her until Wednesday.

Attorney General Tarek William Saab said earlier this week that she was being held at Helicoide Prison, a notorious facility for political prisoners.

San Miguel's daughter, her ex-husband, two brothers and her former partner were also arrested following her arrest. Of them, only their former partner remains in custody.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, based in Geneva, Switzerland, expressed “deep concern” on Tuesday over the detention of San Miguel.

In a tweet, the office called for “her immediate release” and respect for her right to legal defense. About an hour before Gil's announcement, the UN agency called for compliance with “due process guarantees, including the right to defense” in her case.

The UN office was established in Caracas in September 2019.