Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights Volker Türk reviewed the situation in the South American country during a meeting Friday at the Miraflores Palace in Caracas.
Joining Türk during the encounter was UN Resident Coordinator in Venezuela, Gianluca Rampolla, while Maduro was sided by his wife, Congresswoman Cilia Flores, and Foreign Minister Yván Gil.
Before speaking with Maduro, Türk had been contacted by several human rights organizations and activists who briefed him on the current state of events from their own angle, not just that of the government.
Türk, who arrived in Venezuela on Thursday, also met Friday separately with Executive Vice-President Delcy Rodríguez, and with the Speaker of the 2020 National Assembly Jorge Rodríguez.
On Thursday, the High Commissioner held a meeting with relatives of victims of extrajudicial executions and representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The letter Türk received from the NGO Cofavic speaks of 14,296 alleged extrajudicial executions since 2012 as part of Maduro's policy of state violence.
We request the creation of a participatory and transparent follow-up mechanism on the compliance, or not, of the recommendations made by UNHCHR to the Venezuelan State, the NGOs said Friday through a communiqué. Venezuela's ruling party PSUV has proposed a bill to regulate the functioning of NGOs which would result in many of them being outlawed. PSUV First Vice President Diosdado Cabello, who authored the bill, said he had listed 62 of them who were funded from abroad to spread US imperialism. (Read also: https://en.mercopress.com/2023/01/27/venezuelan-human-rights-activist-arrested-after-meeting-with-un-high-commissioner-volker-t-rk )
Meanwhile, Gil insisted on the damage caused to the Venezuelan economy by international sanctions, which directly affect the human rights of the people. He pointed out that the country stopped receiving US$ 232 billion in the oil sector due to the sanctions imposed by the United States, which would have gone to salaries, social rights, education, health, food, housing, infrastructure, to the general development of the country.
During Türk's visit to Caracas, the memorandum of understanding signed in 2019 for cooperation and technical assistance between the Venezuelan government and the UNHCHR was ratified to strengthen national mechanisms for the protection of human rights and access to justice.
Türk is expected to make a final statement and answer some questions from the press at the Simon Bolivar International Airport on Saturday before leaving the country.
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