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Montevideo, May 24th 2024 - 17:27 UTC

 

 

UN Human Rights Office to resume operations in Venezuela following agreement with Maduro

Wednesday, April 24th 2024 - 15:21 UTC
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Khan (left) announced plans for his team to return to Venezuela in approximately three weeks to collaborate with local experts. Khan (left) announced plans for his team to return to Venezuela in approximately three weeks to collaborate with local experts.

The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is set to return to operate in Venezuela, signaling a thaw in relations between the South American nation and the international community. The announcement came from President Nicolas Maduro during an event at the Miraflores presidential palace on Tuesday, where he was joined by International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Karim Khan, who is currently investigating Venezuela for possible crimes against humanity.

Maduro expressed his agreement to allow the reopening of the UN Human Rights Office in Venezuela, stating, “Let's overcome the differences, the conflict we had.” His remarks were welcomed by Khan, who thanked Maduro for his commitment to facilitating the return of the UN office. “I am very grateful that you have expressed your commitment...to allow the office of the UN High Commissioner to return to Venezuela,” Khan said.

The expulsion of the UN Human Rights Office from Venezuela occurred two months ago, following the office's expression of concern over the arrest of Rocio San Miguel, an activist and expert on military issues. San Miguel was detained on charges of terrorism allegedly linked to a plot to assassinate Maduro. The government's decision to expel the UN office was met with condemnation and accusations of bias.

However, Maduro's recent announcement signals a willingness to mend relations and address differences constructively. “The doors of the Miraflores palace are open...so that we can talk about the differences we have, the conflict that arose and overcome it,” Maduro stated.

The return of the UN Human Rights Office is seen as a positive step towards addressing human rights concerns in Venezuela. The office, led by former President Michelle Bachelet in 2019, had highlighted both progress and challenges in the country's human rights situation. Volker Türk, the current High Commissioner, had visited Venezuela in January 2023 and emphasized the need for measures to end torture and release arbitrarily detained individuals.

Meanwhile, ICC prosecutor Khan inaugurated the international prosecutor's office in Caracas during his fourth visit to Venezuela. Khan's visit follows the ICC's rejection of Venezuela's appeal regarding its investigation into crimes against humanity during anti-government demonstrations in 2017. Despite differences, Khan emphasized the importance of dialogue and cooperation. “We agree to disagree on some issues...but at the same time with this independent and thorough investigation, we are creating spaces and dialogue for complementarity,” Khan stated.

Looking ahead, Khan announced plans for his team to return to Venezuela in approximately three weeks to collaborate with local experts. He also revealed the government's intention to incorporate the Rome Statute into Venezuela's legislation, signaling a commitment to international legal standards.

 

 

 

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