Venezuelan VP Meets UN Human Rights Chief to Examine Negative US Sanction Impact

Calling the meeting “very important and fruitful”, Rodríguez asked Türk to consider the consequences of unilateral measures on the enjoyment of human rights in more than 30 countries.
Vice-President Delcy Rodríguez, dressed in yellow, shakes hands with Volker Türk in front of a UN flag.
Venezuelan Vice-President Delcy Rodríguez meets with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk in Geneva.

Mexico City, Mexico, November 22, 2022 ( – Venezuelan Vice-President Delcy Rodríguez visited with United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk in Geneva to discuss the impact of US sanctions on the enjoyment of human rights in countries under unilateral coercive measures.

“We have requested that the aspect of Venezuela as a blockaded country, as a victim of unilateral coercive measures that impact the enjoyment of the human rights of the Venezuelan people, be taken into consideration,” said Rodríguez following her meeting with Türk on Friday.

The increasing use of unilateral sanctions has drawn scrutiny from human rights experts, highlighting their disproportionate impact on women, children and other vulnerable groups. The measures, otherwise known as sanctions, are generally considered to be out of compliance with international law.

Calling the meeting “very important and fruitful”, Rodríguez asked Türk to consider the impact of unilateral sanctions on human rights not only in Venezuela but in the more than 30 countries currently under a sanctions regime, including Cuba, which has endured a decades-long economic blockade.

Rodríguez highlighted work by UN Special Rapporteur Alena Douhan to document the negative consequences of US-led sanctions on the Venezuelan people. In her report, the independent expert reiterated that the wide-reaching sanctions program against Venezuela has had a “devastating” effect on the entire population’s living conditions. Douhan concluded that unilateral sanctions against Venezuela are politically motivated and undermine the most fundamental human rights.

Venezuela has faced criticism from UN bodies over alleged human rights violations, most recently from the UN Human Rights Council’s Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Its latest report, presented during the Council’s 51st session, accused the Venezuelan state of committing “crimes against humanity,” including arbitrary arrests and torture.

However, local Venezuelan human rights organizations lambasted the report, citing its “unreliable” methodology that hinged on unverifiable anonymous interviews and the lack of in-country presence of the investigators.

Vice-President Rodríguez usually represents Venezuela in international forums concerning human rights, most recently speaking before the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review Working Group in January where she called on Member States to abstain from using the human rights system for political ends.

Secretary-General António Guterres on Thursday appointed Volker Türk as the next United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, following approval by the General Assembly, in September. The Austrian lawyer succeeds Michelle Bachelet of Chile who opted not to seek another term.

Rodríguez’s rush to meet Türk and invite him to visit Venezuela is likely driven by her country’s interest in deeping its cooperation with the UN and its various bodies. President Nicolás Maduro likewise welcomed representatives from the UN World Food Program, including Executive Director David Beasley at the Miraflores Presidential Palace on Monday.

The Venezuelan government has been working to restore the country’s place in the international community following the collapse of US-led efforts to isolate the Maduro government. The president himself recently traveled to Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt to take part in the COP27 Conference where he met with various world leaders such as French President Emmanuel Macron who had previously embraced self-proclaimed “interim president” Juan Guaidó.

Maduro’s meeting with Macron culminated in a Paris closed-door meeting between Venezuelan National Assembly President Jorge Rodríguez and opposition politician Gerardo Blyde aimed at restarting talks between the government and the opposition.

Following her visit with Türk, Delcy Rodriguez met with Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Rebeca Grynspan Mayufis to discuss pathways for Venezuelan economic development in light of the US-led sanctions regime.

Rodriguez also met with Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva Tatiana Valovaya before appearing at the International Court of Justice to request the court dismiss a case filed by Guyana in a long-running border dispute concerning the Essequibo Strip that Venezuela has consistently maintained as part of its territory.

Edited by Ricardo Vaz in Caracas.