UN Watch spearheads global protest of 50 NGOs, press conference, addresses rally

Following the special UN Human Rights Council session awarded on October 28th to PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, Venezuela was able to demand and obtain the same monologue format — with no rights of reply — for its president Nicolas Maduro, who got a standing ovation as he launched into a 40-minute rant on Thursday.

Above: UN Watch’s director at protest rally.

UN Watch, acting in concert with its close human rights allies from Venezuela, spearheaded the global opposition to Maduro’s visit:

  • UN Watch organized a Joint Appeal which became the global rallying cry against the Maduro visit, signed by 50 leading Venezuelan figures, including Lilian Titori, wife of jailed opposition leader Leopolodo Lopez, and international human rights organizations. UN Watch delivered the appeal to key UN ambassadors in Geneva, building pressure not to allow Maduro to speak without any other voices.
  • On the day of the speech, UN Watch held a press conference featuring Julieta Lopez, aunt of Leopoldo Lopez, and Venezuelan student protest leader Eusebio Costa, in a packed room including journalists from the New York Times, Reuters, Agence France-Presse, Associated Press, Agence Télégraphique SuisseSpanish news agency EFE and Geneva’s Le Temps. See media stories below.
  • UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer addressed a protest rally of Venezuelan human rights activists, held in front of the UN and drawng the ire of the Venezuelan government.
  • RESULT: 
    • Under pressure, both the UNHRC president and the High Commissioner cited Maduro’s poor human rights record while introducing him, and his regime’s refusal to admit any UNHRC investigators.
    • World media exposed Venezuela’s abysmal record — see below. 

Media Impact from UN Watch Campaign 

Maduro to address UN rights forum amid protest

GENEVA, Nov 12 (Reuters) – Venezuelan opposition supporters and activists called on states to boycott a speech by President Nicolas Maduro to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva on Thursday due to his country’s poor record and refusal to allow U.N. investigators to visit. Demonstrators are organising a protest outside the U.N. gates.

“I am here today to denounce Maduro as part of opposition abroad, as we say in Venezuela he comes here to wash his face in front of the Council,” Eusebio Jose Costa Lovera, a Venezuelan student protest leader living in exile in Europe, told a news briefing.

UN Press Conference: Julieta Lopez, aunt of jailed opposition leader; Eusebio Costa; Hillel Neuer. 

“We regard this as an abuse of the Human Rights Council forum. Maduro has one hour, no governments can speak, no NGOs. This is irregular and highly problematic,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch. “Fifty people and groups have signed this petition, we asked member states not to attend. We are concerned that by attending they are legitimising President Maduro’s human rights record which is abysmal.”

“Venezuela is really a dictatorship,” said Julieta Lopez, aunt of jailed opposition leader Leopoldo López. “We have a facade of democracy.” Her nephew was sentenced in September to nearly 14 years in jail on charges of inciting anti-government protests last year that spiralled into violence killing more than 40 people. Lopez said her nephew is kept isolated in a tiny cell and his wife is strip-searched on visits to the jail.

Venezuelan President lashes out at U.S. at U.N. meeting
A group of 50 Venezuelan and international human rights activists, including Lilian Tintori, the wife of jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, had asked the member countries of the UN to boycott the special session. Venezuela is an elected member of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. “The fear of negative perceptions over this special meeting is compounded by the extreme nature of Venezuela’s ongoing oppression of its people, and by Venezuela’s refusal — despite being an elected member of the Human Rights Council, and just now re-elected — to accept fact-finding visits by the Council’s own special human rights experts,” the joint appeal read.

Appel au boycott du discours de Maduro
Une coalition de 50 défenseurs des droits de l’homme a demandé jeudi aux ambassadeurs à l’ONU de boycotter le discours de Nicolas Maduro. Le président du Venezuela doit s’adresser dans l’après-midi à Genève au Conseil des droits de l’homme. «La crainte de perceptions négatives quant à cette réunion est aggravée par la nature extrême de la répression en cours exercée contre son peuple par le Venezuela et par le refus de ce pays d’accepter des missions d’enquête des rapporteurs spéciaux de l’ONU», écrivent les ONG.

ONU/Droits-Maduro dénonce à Genéve “l’impérialisme” des USA
“Nous percevons l’intervention de Maduro comme une insulte au forum du Conseil des droits de l’homme. Il aura une heure pour parler, aucun gouvernement ni ONG ne peut s’exprimer. Ce n’est pas conforme aux règles et c’est vraiment problématique” a déclaré Hillel Neuer, un avocat canadien qui dirige UN Watch, une ONG qui s’est donné pour mandat d’assurer que l’Onu respecte sa propre charte.

Tres denuncias contra Maduro ha recibido La Haya
UN Watch, otra ONG con se de en Ginebra, exigió al Consejo conceder a Lilian Tintori un tiempo igual al que tendrá Maduro. UN Watch acotó que tras la cortesía del Consejo con el presidente venezolano, es solo cuestión de tiempo antes de que Erdogan de Turquía, Assad de Siria y Kim Jong-Un de Corea del Norte soliciten en cualquier momento del año el mismo podio, al que usualmente solo pueden acceder cada septiembre en Nueva York.

Exercise de propagande du président du Venezuela à Genève
“Cette formule ne prévoit aucune possibilité de réponse et est tres problématique,” a affirmé le directeur d’UN Watch Hillel Neuer. Il a exprimé sa crainte que d’autres dirigeants autoritaires utilisent de la même maniére la plate-forme genevoise.


After Rare Reprimand at UN Rights Council, Venezuela’s Leader Hits Back at ‘Audacious Accusations’
Maduro invoked his late predecessor and mentor, “our commander Hugo Chavez, our magnificent leader of all of humanity in this century.” He thanked U.N. member-states for re-electing Venezuela onto the HRC, calling it a “vote of confidence” in the face of “manipulative and lie-based campaigns” by its foes. Earlier 50 Venezuelan and international human rights activists [led by UN Watch] urged ambassadors to boycott the speech, “and not to legitimize the Maduro government’s record of abuse.”

La oposición venezolana pide el boicot al discurso de Maduro en el Consejo de Derechos Humanos
La oposición venezolana ha solicitado a los países miembros de las Naciones Unidas que boicoteen la sesión especial del Consejo de Derechos Humanos de la ONU en la que hoy intervendrá el presidente de Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro. Así lo anunciaron hoy en rueda de prensa Julieta López, tía del líder opositor Leopoldo López, y Eusebio Costa, líder estudiantil actualmente exiliado.

Maduro, “discorso propagandistico”
Il discorso di Nicolas Maduro al Consiglio per i diritti dell’uomo dell’ONU a Ginevra è stato denunciato da diverse ONG perchè, a loro avviso, è stato utilizzato a scopi propagandistici, tanto che una coalizione di 50 difensori dei diritti umani ha chiesto agli ambasciatori dell’ONU di boicottarlo. (Click here for extensive radio report on UN Watch’s press conference, in Italian, with remarks from Julieta López and Eusebio Costa, at minute 12:05.)



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