Issue 248: U.N. Needs to Challenge Venezuela Rights Abuses

Friday, July 16, 2010; p. A18
Jackson Diehl rightly highlights the ordeal of Guillermo Zuloaga, owner of Venezuela’s last opposition TV station, and notes the protest by Frank La Rue, the United Nations’ free-speech monitor [“Defying Chávez’s iron fist, ” op-ed, July 12]. Tragically, Mr. La Rue’s stand against abuses by the regime of Hugo Chávez has been the exception at the world body.
The 47-nation U.N. Human Rights Council to which Mr. La Rue must report — dominated by dictatorships such as China, Cuba and Libya — has turned a blind eye to Mr. Chávez’s trampling of basic human rights and due process.Instead, in one of its few resolutions not condemning Israel, the council last year endorsed ousted Honduran president Manuel Zelaya, reportedly a beneficiary of Mr. Chávez’s oil money and private jets. Last month, the council unanimously elected another Chávez ally, ex-Sandinista Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, as one of its advisers.Which is all the more reason the United States and the European Union must embolden the few U.N. voices willing to defy this authoritarianism. The international community should demand that Venezuela accept Mr. La Rue’s request to visit and investigate. As the space for free expression shrinks at alarming speed, unflinching solidarity with Venezuela’s courageous dissidents is crucial.

Hillel C. Neuer, Geneva

The writer is executive director of UN Watch.



Il dramma degli eritrei respinti in Libia: non lasciamoli sol

“Poi c’è la questione della Libia. Lo scorso maggio, in mezzo alle polemiche di decine e decine di organizzazioni non governative, il paese nordafricano è entrato a far parte dei 47 paesi che formano il Consiglio dei Diritti Umani delle Nazioni Unite. “Scegliere il dittatore libico Muammar Gheddafi per giudicare altri sui diritti umani è una barzelletta“, ha detto senza peli sulla lingua Hillel Neuer, responsabile dell’organizzazione UN Watch.”

Translation: “Then there is the question of Libya. Last May, amid controversy raised by dozens of nongovernmental organizations, the North African country joined the 47 countries that form the United Nations Human Rights Council. ‘Choosing Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi to judge others on human rights is a joke,” said bluntly Hillel Neuer, director of the UN Watch organization.'”

– Panorama, Italian weekly news magazine, July 6, 2010.

UN Watch