Mérida, September 18, 2020 (venezuelanalysis.com) – The Venezuelan government has rejected a recent report by a United Nations (UN) human rights mission.
“It’s a report ridden with falsehoods, written from afar, with no methodological rigor whatsoever,” Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza wrote on Twitter. He went on to emphasize that the report had been written by a “ghost mission” which had not set foot in Venezuela.
“This illustrates the perverse practice of playing politics with human rights,” Arreaza concluded, accusing the authors of the report of being “controlled” by US-allied governments.
The so-called Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Venezuela was established by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in September 2019 to “assess alleged human rights violations committed since 2014.”
On Wednesday, the mission released a report accusing President Nicolas Maduro and other high ranking figures, including Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez and Interior Minister Nestor Reverol, of direct involvement in human rights violations.
“The Venezuelan State must hold to account those responsible for extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions and torture, and prevent further acts of this nature from taking place,” the report said.
The document singled out investigative police body CICPC and elite police unit FAES as being responsible for most extrajudicial killings, with sources allegedly confirming a “green light to kill” and speaking to a practice of planting evidence and simulating confrontations.
The group headed by Marta Valinas (Portugal), and also featuring Francisco Cox (Chile) and Paul Seils (UK), reportedly investigated 223 cases, 48 of them in depth, in its 411-page report. The mission claimed to find “patterns of violations and crimes [...] amounting to crimes against humanity” and called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to “consider legal actions” against individuals identified in the report.
The document will be presented to the Human Rights Council next Wednesday.
In rejecting the report from a “politicized mechanism,” Caracas pointed to its “coordinated and constructive relationship” with the OHCHR and with High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet.
In contrast to her predecessor, Jordanian prince Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the former Chilean president visited Venezuela in June 2019 and met with both government and opposition representatives. However, a report published by her office weeks later was criticized as “biased” by Caracas.
In recent years, government figures and solidarity movements have taken aim at the “politicization” of human rights against Venezuela, pointing out that investigators rely almost exclusively on testimony of opposition figures abroad or opposition-aligned NGOs.