Rule of law in Venezuela `eroded`: UN rights chief

Venezuela GNB

UN report: Venezuela death squads kill young men, stage scenes

Addressing a session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, Venezuelan Vice Foreign Minister William Castillo said the sanctions met the body's definition of "unilateral coercive measures" and should be lifted, according to the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry.

Twenty-two people released by Venezuela's government on Thursday include the emblematic cases of judge Maria Afiuni and journalist Braulio Jatar, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said on Friday.

Venezuela Foreign ministry appreciates, "the recognition by the High Commissioner for Human Rights that the U.S. economic sanctions aggravate the economic crisis and violate human rights", according to an official. "They would plant arms and drugs and fire their weapons against the walls or in the air to suggest a confrontation and to show the victim had "resisted authority".

The report indicated that almost 7,000 people have been killed during security operations in Venezuela in the past year and a half, according to a count by Caracas, and warned that numerous killings likely constituted "executions".

In addition to the censure of media outlets, the report indicates that "the Government has blocked independent news websites and regularly blocked the main social media platforms" within Venezuela. "Many may constitute extrajudicial killings, and should be fully investigated, with the accountability of perpetrators, and guarantees of non-recurrence".

The UN report said many of them appeared to be extrajudicial executions.

According to the United Nations report, the men may serve in Venezuela's Special Action Forces (FAES).

Turning to the country's political crisis, the report notes that so far this year, 22 deputies of the National Assembly have been stripped of their parliamentary immunity, as well as to the forum's leader and self-appointed interim President, Juan Guaido.

Government figures showed that deaths ascribed to criminals resisting arrest numbered 5,287 last year and 1,569 by May 19 this year. It highlights the impact of a deepening "economic crisis" where the Venezuelan government and its institutions have implemented a strategy of targeted repression, discrimination, and persecution on political grounds.

The oil-rich country is also suffering from hyperinflation and shortages of basic goods from food to medicine, a crisis that has forced millions to flee.

"All Venezuelans deserve a better life, free from fear and with access to adequate food, water, healthcare, housing and all other basic human needs", she said.

Finally, UNICEF estimates that approximately 3.2 million children are in urgent need of healthcare and nutritional assistance; we urge the Maduro regime to facilitate unimpeded access to, and the the entry of, worldwide humanitarian aid.

We also welcome the announcement that the Office of the High Commissioner will now have a presence in Venezuela to provide technical assistance and monitor the human rights situation.

Bachelet said in a statement that she had the government's commitment to work with the United Nations to resolve some of the thorniest issues, including the use of torture and access to justice, and to allow full access to detention facilities.

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