UN Human Rights Chief Calls on Venezuela Government to Release People Detained for Peacefully Protesting
The High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has called on the Venezuela Government to release all those detained for peacefully protesting and announced that a team from her office would remain in Caracas to monitor the human rights situation.
Speaking at the end of the first-ever official mission to Venezuela by a UN human rights chief, which came at the invitation of the embattled Nicolas Maduro administration, Bachelet – a former two-term president of Chile – said the Government had agreed the new Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) team would provide technical help and advice and “continue to monitor the human rights situation in Venezuela.”
“In my meetings with victims and their families, their deep yearning for justice for grave human rights violations was made painfully clear,” she said. “I sincerely hope that our assessment, advice and assistance will help strengthen torture prevention and access to justice in Venezuela. The Government has also agreed that my team will be guaranteed full access to detention centres to be able to monitor conditions and speak to detainees.”
Bachelet met President Maduro and other senior ministers, as well as the opposition leader, Juan Guaido, who declared himself interim president in January, sparking a deepening political crisis in the deeply divided country, which has now seen more than four million Venezuelans flee across the border.
“I also met victims of human rights violations and their families,”, said Bachelet. “The man who told of his brother’s torture, humiliation and killing by hooded FAES security officers in a raid on his house – and the many other heartbroken families whose loved ones suffered a similar fate…The mother whose 14-year-old child was shot during demonstrations on 30 April this year. People who suffered horrific torture in detention.”
She said she had also met “victims of violence against Government supporters. A mother whose young son, a Government supporter, was set on fire during the 2017 protests and spent 15 agonising days in hospital before he died.”