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Published On: Wed, Sep 13th, 2017

Venezuelan security forces may have committed crimes against humanity against protesters: UNHRC

nsnbc : The United Nations human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein said on Monday that Venezuelan security forces may have committed crimes against humanity against protesters. The UNHRC chief called for an international investigation. Venezuela’s foreign ministry, for its part, defended the human rights record of the administration of President Nicolas Maduro and rejected the allegations as baseless.

Venezuela_Human Rights_assassinations_Sep 2017Venezuela has gone through five months of political crisis, demonstrations and violence. Violence is being committed by all parties but previous UN investigations concluded that the majority of victims were protesters and the Venezuelan security forces systematically use indiscriminate and disproportionate force.

Members of the opposition Roundtable of Democratic Unity (MUD) coalition, as well as former supporters of the ruling socialist party (PSUV) and the administration of President Nicolas Maduro have turned against the PSUV administration and warned that Venezuela is rapidly becoming a one-party dictatorship with opposition parties as fig leaf.

‘My investigation suggests the possibility that crimes against humanity may have been committed, which can only be confirmed by a subsequent criminal investigation,’ Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein told the U.N. Human Rights Council. He noted that the government was using criminal proceedings against opposition leaders, arbitrary detentions, excessive use of force and ill-treatment of detainees, in some cases amounting to torture.

Venezuela_2017_Police officer burns motorbikeIn August Zeid’s office said Venezuela’s security forces had committed extensive and apparently deliberate human rights violations in crushing anti-government protests and that democracy was ‘barely alive.’ ‘There is a very real danger that tensions will further escalate, with the government crushing democratic institutions and critical voices,’ Zeid said.

The opposition, which boycotted the election for the Constituent Assembly, has accused electoral authorities of inflating turn-out figures for the July 30 vote.

However, Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza told the Geneva forum: ‘We have now selected the National Constituent Assembly, this is the true expression of our citizens’ will. It will have the powers to draw up a new Constitution.’ ‘The opposition in Venezuela is back on the path of rule of law and democracy, we will see dialogue emerging thanks to mediation of our friends,’ he said.

Venezuela_Truth Commission_Aug 2017Arreaza accused protesters of using firearms and ‘home-made weapons’ against security forces, but noted that the last death was on July 30. ‘Our country is now at peace,’ he added. Venezuela is among the 47 members of the Council, where it enjoys strong support from Cuba, Iran and other states. nsnbc international is currently not aware whether the Venezuelan government will help facilitate an eventual international probe under the auspices of the UNHRC – of which it is a member.

Advocates for the UNHRC argue that a country that has a clean record wouldn’t have any reasons to reject a probe, and that the discovery of eventual systemic issues could also help improve governance and wouldn’t necessarily have to be “discriminatory” as some would claim.

Diego Arria, who was Venezuela’s ambassador to the United Nations in New York from 1991 to 1994, told a separate Geneva event organized by activists and action group UN Watch that Venezuela should be referred to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC). ‘I am convinced that the killing in the streets equates to crimes against humanity,’ he said. The Hague-based court defines such crimes as including torture, murder, deprivation of liberty, sexual violence and persecution, he said. That said, far from all, or even a majority in Venezuela or internationally would agree that the highly criticized ICC should have a role in Venezuela.

A/N – nsnbc 13.09.2017

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  1. Jim Scott says:

    Perhaps the UNHCR should remember what has occured in Libya where NATO countries committed and supported violent attacks by terrorist groups against the Libyan Government resulting in Africa’s best off country become a terrorist controlled failed state. The same propaganda used by the NATO invaders against Libya is being used against Venezuela which coincidentally is also a country rich in oil and where the government had nationalised their oil reserves.
    The USA has been a major player in both instigating protests and in putting trade embargoes on Venezuelan exports and imports which are illegal and aimed at bringing down the Venezuelan Government. When will the UN human rights council take action against the many breaches of human rights that have been carried out by the USA and it’s Allies throughout the Third World and in developing countries. Many of these breaches are decades old and ignored by the UNHCR.The illegal and violent occupation of Palestinian and the Syrian Golan Heights spring to mind as very cogent examples where UN bodies have shown that they are greatly compromised and have lost legitimacy by their lack of action.

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