Venezuela Wins Seat on UN Human Rights Council Despite Human Rights Abuses

  • "How can a regime being investigated for violating human rights gain access to space for human rights defenders?"
  • Opposition MPs and NGOs slammed the decision, on Twitter and elsewhere.
  • The Government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro welcomed the election, which says it calls "a victory for Bolivarian peace diplomacy."

Venezuela won a contested election to a seat on the UN Human Rights Council Thursday, a move the opposition has called “incoherent.” The governing regime is currently being investigated for “human rights violations and crimes against humanity.”

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is a United Nations body whose mission is to promote and protect human rights around the world. In 2006, it replaced the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR, herein CHR) that had been strongly criticized for allowing countries with poor human rights records to be members.

“How can a regime being investigated for violating human rights gain access to space for human rights defenders, and where another Cuban dictatorship occupies a place,” wondered Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader and President of the National Assembly of Venezuela during a press conference.

According to Guaidó, there are contradictions— they have replaced one dictatorship (Cuba) with another. Guaidó also thanked Costa Rica for applying for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council and trying to prevent Venezuela from entering. During a press conference in Caracas, the opposition leader said the UN had lost credibility, stating that the U.N. has been “tarnished” by the vote, and “loses credibility” by validating Maduro.

Opposition MPs Richard Blanco and Carlos Bastardo also questioned the decision, which they say is a “slap for diplomacy” and called on Venezuelans to express their non-conformity. “We have seen our human rights violated. Do not keep silent in the face of this irregularity. Assassins must go to jail; they can never be awarded. Urgent international aid is the only way out. Raise your voice,” Blanco wrote in his Twitter account.

“What happened today [Thursday] at the UN is a real shame, a slap to diplomacy (…), to Venezuelans fighting for freedom,” Bastardo tweeted. “Allowing the regime to sit on the Human Rights Council is to celebrate that socialism kills in Venezuela.”

Nicolás Maduro is a Venezuelan politician serving as president of Venezuela since 2013. His presidency has been disputed by Juan Guaidó since January 2019, with much of the West recognizing the latter as Acting President.

Lawyer Gonzalo Himiob of the Venezuelan Criminal Court also condemned what he attributes to the fact that many countries move “more for their own interests than for humanity.” He tweeted, “this vote proves that Venezuelans still have a lot of work to do, so they know more about our harsh reality.”

Humberto Prado, from the Venezuelan Prison Observatory, also condemned the candidacy of the regime of Nicolás Maduro, for “not meeting the necessary conditions.” He told reporters, “the regime has been characterized for violating human rights. It is involved in disappearances, torture, cruel, degrading, and inhuman treatment. Reports from human rights organizations ratify the systematic violation of human rights in Venezuela.” According to Prado, the election represents “a serious mistake and a tragedy.”

Venezuela won a seat on the UN Human Rights Council Thursday, following a vote at the UN General Assembly, despite criticism from some countries and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The Government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, and Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza welcomed the election, which says it calls “a victory for Bolivarian peace diplomacy.” Venezuela will take office on January 1, 2020, replacing Cuba, whose term comes to an end.

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Vincent Ferdinand

News reporting is my thing. My view of what is happening in our world is colored by my love of history and how the past influences events taking place in the present time.  I like reading politics and writing articles. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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