Venezuela Criticizes Bias in Inter-American Human Rights Commission Annual Report

The 2009 Annual Report by the Inter-American Human Rights Commission (IAHRC), which includes Venezuela among countries that do not respect human rights, is an example of “political defamation,” according to Venezuelan Ambassador to the Organization of American States, Roy Chaderton.

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Venezuelan Ambassador to the OAS Roy Chaderton (archive)
Venezuelan Ambassador to the OAS Roy Chaderton (archive)
By James Suggett- Venezuelanalysis.com
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Mérida, April 16th 2010 (Venezuelanalysis.com) –  The 2009 Annual Report by the Inter-American Human Rights Commission (IAHRC), which includes Venezuela among countries that do not respect human rights, is an example of “political defamation,” according to Venezuelan Ambassador to the Organization of American States, Roy Chaderton.

Chaderton said the IAHRC must be suffering “the insomnia of the unjust” as it attempts to “discredit a democracy that dared to be dissident in the face of the hegemonic powers.”

“I am not talking about an IAHRC where the officials try to support states in overcoming problems in human rights and prepare policies and laws in an environment of reflection,” said Chaderton. Instead, the IAHRC “bases itself on prejudiced opinions with the purpose of causing political damage,” he said.

The IAHRC report, which was released in English on April 15th and based mainly on accounts by Venezuelan opposition media and political groups, highlighted intolerance of political dissent, restrictions on freedom of expression, lack of independence of the judicial branch, and impunity in cases of violent crime as among the human rights violations suffered in Venezuela.

Following the arrests of a wealthy banker, a judge, and the president of an opposition television news station on charges of fraud, conspiracy, and incitement of panic, respectively, the Venezuelan opposition has filed complaints in the IAHRC, referring to those arrested as “political prisoners.” And, the IAHRC released several reports in recent months condemning these arrests.

Venezuelan officials have repeatedly questioned the credibility of the IAHRC’s reports since April 2002, when the commission recognized the coup regime that was installed after President Hugo Chavez was kidnapped by military elites in coup that lasted two days.

Venezuela has not allowed IAHRC officials to conduct on-the-ground human rights observations in the country since the 2002 coup, but has offered to allow it if the IAHRC retracts its support for the former coup regime and changes its approach toward Venezuela. 

Chaderton further criticized the report for ignoring severe human rights violations of other OAS member states, particularly the United States, and for maintaining a close political relationship with the Venezuelan opposition. He said the IAHRC’s politicized behavior causes the institution to “lose credibility.”

Furthermore, the ambassador said Venezuela “can show a face of dignity because of all its advances with relation to human rights.” He highlighted the halving of poverty, consistently high employment rate, expanded access to the media for small and independent producers, dramatic expansion of free public health care, programs of economic assistance to women, and increased community participation in the democratic process, as a result of the “Bolivarian Revolution” led by the current government over the past ten years.

The IAHRC placed Venezuela alongside Colombia, Cuba, Haiti, and Honduras in the 2009 Annual Report. All of these countries were previously featured as not respecting human rights, except for Honduras, which was added to the list this year because of the right-wing, military coup d'etat carried out on June 28th, 2009.

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