Venezuela rejects U.N. accusations of human rights abuses

Isabel Cocker/The Santiago Times Staff

CARACAS – Venezuela’s Minister for Exterior Jorge Arreaza has accused the U.N. Office for Human Rights on Monday of bringing false charges of human rights violations against his country, “without any factual basis or rigorous methodology”.

“We came to this council to defend the truth of Venezuela,” Arreaza declared in a speech in front of the Council for Human Rights.

He defended the Maduro government, stating that the U.N.’s accusations are “riddles with lies and twisted arguments which offend our government.”

This comes in response to a speech by the High Commissioner of the Council, ZeidRa’ad al Hussein, who spoke in front of the Council on Monday, stating that Venezuela “may have committed human rights violations” in some of the anti-government protests of recent months.

Ra’ad al Hussein also urged the Council to set up an investigation into the deaths, detentions and torture which his office described in a U.N. report released last month. The published document suggests that, of the 124 deaths investigated by Venezuela’s Attorney General’s Office between April and July 2017, 73 can be linked to security forces and collectives supporting Maduro.

However, the Venezuelan diplomat rebuffed these accusations, stating that the opposite was true and that anti-government agencies were those responsible for the majority of casualties, calling it a “lamentable loss of human life”.