Rights activists hail Venezuela’s departure from UN Human Rights Council Read more
The resolution was passed almost unanimously but failed to make the required changes. It demands the Venezuelan authorities fully investigate the alleged use of chemical weapons against unarmed protesters and hold accountable the perpetrators.
“We are pleased that Venezuela is withdrawing from the United Nations’ Human Rights Council because the government of Venezuela has taken measures to address its shameful human rights abuses,” said John Fisher, vice president of the US-based Human Rights First, a non-governmental organization that conducts regular research on human rights in Latin America.
“We urge the government of Venezuela to take further steps to ensure peaceful and safe elections in 2019.”
It also calls on “prosecutors to fully investigate and bring to justice those responsible for committing crimes against humanity and other serious violations of international human rights law by their security forces”.
The resolution makes no mention of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, who is widely seen as the country’s leading proponent of democracy and rule of law, or of Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez, who has been widely branded an ally of his government.
The resolution drew criticism for what it said was a lack of detail on the Venezuelan government’s response to the alleged use of chemical weapons against protesters in April.
While human rights groups welcomed the announcement of the resolution, the groups said it did not go far enough.
“A total of 19 rights monitors have reported at least 15 cases of serious chemical agents, including VX and CS gas, and have found no evidence that they were used against protesters,” said John Fisher, US-based rights activist.
The Venezuelan government maintains that it has not employed chemical weapons against protesters.
The rights activists are in fact far from unanimous, with some countries, including the US, China and Egypt, in the past calling for the removal of Venezuela from the Council.
The US representative to the UN, Nikki Haley, issued a statement in support of the Venezuelan government. She had previously called on the US to step up efforts to end human rights violations in Venezuela.
She also accused countries with a reputation for human rights abuse like Venezuela, Belarus and Cuba of “blatantly violating human rights”, citing reports of a brutal crackdown on demonstrators in