What work did the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights do in Venezuela?

(CNN Spanish) — The Venezuela-based Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, which Nicolas Maduro’s government decided to expel from the country this week, was tasked with monitoring, evaluating and reporting on the human rights situation in the country. .country, according to its website.

These tasks are based on various resolutions approved by the United Nations General Assembly, notably 48/141, which established the promotion and protection of all human rights as the mission of the High Commissioner in 1994.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Yvan Gil announced this Thursday the decision of the Maduro government to expel the office from the country. In a message to the media, he said that the body “has deviated from its mandate” and “has become a sounding board for the opposition.”

Two days earlier, the High Commissioner had joined the voices that described themselves as concerned about the arrest of activist Rocío San Miguel, director of the non-governmental organization Control Ciudadano, who was charged by the Venezuelan Prosecutor’s Office with an alleged conspiracy against Maduro. Was accused of participating in a conspiracy. And about which the authorities have not yet presented evidence. San Miguel’s lawyers reject the charges and demand that he be released. This Friday, San Miguel spent a week under arrest.

Meanwhile, following the announcement by Venezuela’s foreign minister – who gave office staff 72 hours to leave the country – spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said the UN regretted the decision and was evaluating the matter. What action should be taken.

“We continue to cooperate with authorities and other interested parties. Our guiding principle has been and will continue to be the promotion and protection of the human rights of the Venezuelan people,” Shamdasani said.

office work

The office says on its website that since 2019 it has taken various actions to monitor the human rights situation in Venezuela and provide technical advice to implement recommendations.

He says some of these actions include setting up “early warning” mechanisms to detect individual cases of human rights violations and asking the relevant authorities for immediate measures; Explain economic and social rights violations, which have worsened following the COVID-19 pandemic, and “protect and improve the democratic space”, protect human rights defenders, cooperate with NGOs and adopt Call for participatory and inclusive processes in taking. Of public policies.

Earlier, in 2017 and 2018, the High Commissioner had published two reports on the matter. The first focused on events that occurred within the framework of the protests that lasted from April to July. The second followed up on this issue and noted other conditions, such as alleged excessive use of force, arbitrary detentions, torture, and health and food crises.

Reactions after removal

Following Foreign Minister Gil’s announcement this Thursday, the Venezuelan government issued a statement in which it accused the UN office of being “colonialist, abusive and a violation of the Charter of the United Nations.”

He said, “This Office of the High Commissioner is very active in falsifying the facts and pre-qualifying positions regarding Venezuela, simply to attack the country’s sovereignty and self-determination with lies, falsifications, disinformation and manipulation. “

On the other hand, various actors inside and outside Venezuela have criticized the Maduro executive’s decision.

Opposition forces, grouped into the Democratic Unitary Platform, considered that the removal of the office “confirms the authoritarian nature of the regime, which does not want the active presence of the international community as a witness to permanent human rights violations in our country.”

This Friday, the Embassy of the United States of America in Venezuela said that the US government is “concerned” by the expulsion of the UN office, which it considered an act of retaliation for the concern expressed about the arrest of activist Rocío San Miguel.

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