UN renews mandate for human rights mission in Venezuela

Human rights groups welcome two-year extension of UN mission, which Caracas condemns as ‘designed for interventionism’.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro speaks at a press conference with flags behind him.
The UN mission has accused Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government of cracking down on the opposition, claims Caracas say are 'false and unfounded' [File: Umit Bektas/Reuters]

The United Nations Human Rights Council has renewed the mandate of its fact-finding mission in Venezuela, an initiative Caracas considers an aggressive tool for interfering in domestic matters.

The mandate to extend the International Independent Fact-Finding Mission for Venezuela (FFM) for two more years was approved by 19 votes to five against and 23 abstentions during a Council session in Geneva on Friday.

The UN mission was first created in 2019 to look into alleged human rights violations in the country.

Those opposed were Cuba, Bolivia, China, Eritrea and Venezuela itself, whose representative to the Council, Ambassador Hector Constant Rosales, dubbed the resolution “hostile”.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Carlos Faria said on Twitter that the FFM’s extension was “a new attack against Venezuela”.

The mission “is designed for interventionism and for the falsification of reality. This commission is a political instrument for the most brazen defamation on issues of human rights,” he added.

In September, the mission’s third report found that state intelligence agencies under President Nicolas Maduro’s helm had suppressed the opposition through arbitrary detentions and torture that amounted to crimes against humanity.

The intelligence agencies “made use of sexual and gender-based violence to torture and humiliate their detainees” since at least 2014 and “the violations and crimes … continue to this day”, the report said.

The Venezuelan government responded that the report’s accusations were “false and unfounded”.

Venezuela is a “democratic and social state, based on the rule of law and justice, which is committed to the promotion, respect and protection of human rights”, the government said.

Human rights groups welcomed the FFM’s extension.

The renewal is a “sign of support for the countless victims of grave human rights violations that have been, and continue to be, committed in the country,” Amnesty International’s Americas Director Erika Guevara Rosas said on Twitter.

Human Rights Watch called the FFM’s extension “extremely important” and said it plays “an early warning role in the lead-up to the 2024 presidential elections”.

Source: Reuters