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GENEVA, October 16, 2014 – Despite Venezuela’s record of human rights abuses against judges, students and peaceful protesters, and its backing of Syria’s Assad regime, a majority of EU member states today were among the 181 states that voted Venezuela onto the UN Security Council, drawing the ire of human rights activists.
“It’s an outrage that at least 16 of 28 EU states today empowered and legitimized a repressive government that openly sides with the murderous Syrian regime,” said Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of the Geneva-based UN Watch, an independent human rights group which recently brought Venezuelan human rights victims to testify before the world body.
“Electing Venezuela to the UN Security Council is like making a pyromaniac into the fire chief,” said Neuer.
“Under the UN Charter, candidates to the Security Council must be those who have contributed to international peace and security. Yet Venezuela is notorious as the only country at the UN Human Rights Council last year to vote against holding Syria accountable, effectively backing its mass murder of 200,000 people. So the EU knows exactly what Venezuela will do with its UN vote,” said Neuer.
“Venezuela likewise backed Libya’s Col. Qaddafi and other serial human rights abusers. Caracas violates its Security Council obligations on terrorism by providing passports to Hezbollah and supporting the narco-terrorist group FARC. That’s why Venezuela’s former ambassador to the UN Security Council, Diego Arria, strongly opposed the Maduro regime’s candidacy.”
“The election of Venezuela risks boosting the influence and power of regimes like Assad in Syria, and will cause more innocent victims to die.”
Venezuela now gains meaningful influence, even if less than the veto-wielding powers:
- The Maduro regime will participate in all council decisions including on deployment of troops from UN member countries, mandating cease-fires during wars, and imposing economic penalties on countries.
- Venezuela can now bring up an issue for discussion if nine of the 15 members agree.
- Venezuela can be one of the minimum nine members needed for any resolution to be adopted.
- Venezuela now gains undue world prestige and legitimacy.