UN to send fact-finding mission to Venezuela


UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Friday voted to send a fact-finding mission to Venezuela to probe human rights violations. 

The motion presented by Lima Group — a bloc of 12 Latin American nations working to find a solution to Venezuela’s crisis — was approved by the Council with a simple majority. While 19 members voted for the motion, seven voted against and another 21 were abstentions. 

Condemning the “widespread targeted repression and persecution on political grounds” in Venezuela, the resolution mentioned “excessive” use of force against peaceful protests and arbitrary detentions, tortures, ill-treatments and extrajudicial executions during security operations. 

Michelle Bachelet, head of the UNHRC, visited Venezuela in June to meet a wide range of stakeholders, including President Nicolas Maduro, other senior government officials, as well as the opposition leader and the President of the National Assembly Juan Guaido. 

A team of two UN officials stayed in the country after her visit, with an agreed mandate to provide technical assistance and advice, and to monitor the human rights situation. 

After the visit Bachelet reiterated her concerns several times over “grave” violations of economic, social, civil, political and cultural rights, documented in the UN action alerts published since July. 

Venezuela’s economy has been in swift decline, following a global downturn in the price of crude oil, the country’s main export. The ongoing political unrest has also affected the country’s financial stability. 

Since the beginning of the year, Venezuela has been embroiled in political unrest as Maduro and Guaido are engaged in a fierce power battle. 

Nearly 5,000 people leave Venezuela every day because of “instability and uncertainty” amid a crisis focused on the presidency and economy. Nearly three million Venezuelans have already left the country, since 2015, according to the UN’s refugee agency.
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