UN Human Rights Chief Calls for Venezuela Sanctions Relief

Caracas nonetheless took exception to the “politicization” of the High Commissioner’s report for its “use of sources with little credibility.”

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United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet prepares to address the 48th session of the Human Rights Council. (MPPRE)
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet prepares to address the 48th session of the Human Rights Council. (MPPRE)
By José Luis Granados Ceja
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Mexico City, Mexico, September 15, 2021 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Michelle Bachelet, United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights, called on Monday for sectoral sanctions against Venezuela to be lifted.

“I reiterate my call for sectoral sanctions to be lifted,” the former Chilean president said, recalling the negative impact of the measures on the Caribbean nation’s economy.

The High Commissioner’s call came during the opening of the 48th session of the Human Rights Council where she presented her report on the human rights situation in Venezuela. Bachelet also expressed her support for the ongoing dialogue between the government and the US-backed opposition being held in Mexico.

Venezuela welcomed Bachelet’s appeal for unilateral coercive measures to be lifted but took exception to what Venezuela’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Héctor Constant Rosales, called the “politicization” of the High Commissioner’s report.

“We again lament that there are still politicized elements in the report that affect its objectivity and credibility, with information that has not been verified with Venezuelan authorities and the the use of sources with little credibility despite the permanent presence [of the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights] in the country,” stated Constant.

Caracas has rejected reports from Bachelet’s office in the past, going as far as presenting counter-versions.

In his speech in response to the latest report, Constant highlighted the effects of US-led sanctions on the country. The Venezuelan representative also reminded the session of the work by Alena Douhan, UN Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, whose full report concerning the effects of sanctions on Venezuela was presented to the Human Rights Council on Wednesday.

After signing a memorandum of understanding with the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights, recently extended for another year, Venezuela has expanded its cooperation with the UN body, with the number of Human Rights Officers in the country increasing from six to 12.

“This cooperation will continue to focus on strengthening the national protection mechanisms and access to justice,” expressed Bachelet.

With the possibility of the International Criminal Court—considered a court of last resort when national institutions fail to provide justice—opening a formal investigation into alleged human right abuses, Venezuela has been at pains to prove that violations can be handled domestically.

Bachelet went on to reiterate her call to improve Covid-19 vaccine access throughout the world.

“With insufficient vaccine doses available so far, let me remind all here today that access to vaccines is a human right and must be considered a global public good,” said the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

US-led sanctions have severely impacted health services inside Venezuela and have hampered the country’s ability to secure vaccines for its population. The South American country received its first shipment of Covid-19 vaccine doses through the UN COVAX program only last week following months of delay.

Edited by Ricardo Vaz from Mérida.

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