Venezuela: after 8-year activist campaign, UN opens first probe into rights abuses

UN Watch advisory board member Diego Arria, the former president of the UN Security Council,
was a major force advocating to hold the Maduro regime to account

GENEVA, September 27, 2019 — The non-governmental human rights organization UN Watch welcomed today’s UNHRC resolution establishing a UNHRC probe to investigate abuses by Venezuela. This follows a sustained campaign over eight years by UN Watch and its allies to adopt a strong resolution for the victims of Venezuela’s abuses. “If only the UN had acted years ago when these gross violations began, perhaps the lives of millions forced into hunger and exile could have been spared,” said UN Watch director Hillel Neuer.

UN Watch’s 2011-2019 Campaign For a UN Condemnation of Venezuela’s Human Rights Abuses

• October 2011:  As Venezuela defended its human rights record before a mandatory examination by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva , a coalition of dissidents and rights groups, led by UN Watch, circulated an unprecedented draft resolution to UN member states  calling on them to condemn “the ongoing, systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms of the people of Venezuela,” and to repeal “laws that restrict freedom of expression.” The draft resolution on Venezuela was adopted at a summit of dissidents held in New York during the UN General Assembly opening. The gathering was organized by UN Watch, together with Advancing Human Rights, American Islamic Congress, Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, Collectif Urgence Darfour, Darfur Peace and Development Center, Directorio, Human Rights Foundation, Initiatives for China, Freedom Now, Freedom and Roam Uganda, Free the North Korean Gulag, Human Rights Activists in Iran, Liberty in North Korea, Ligue Internationale Contre le Racisme et l’Antisémitisme (LICRA), Stop Child Executions, Tom Lantos Foundation, Uighur American Association, UN Watch, Viet Tan, World Uighur Congress and the Zimbabwe Advocacy Office.
• September 2015: A proposed resolution to suspend Venezuela from the United Nations Human Rights Council, was submitted by UN Watch to the following member states for them to table it at the UNHRC session opening on 14 September 2015: the United States, France, Germany, and the UK.
• May 2017:  UN Watch circulates new draft resolution for UNHRC to “establish an independent and impartial Commission of Inquiry into gross and systematic human rights violations in Venezuela to ensure that there is full accountability for those responsible for violations.”
• August 2017:  UN Watch proposes amended draft resolution, documenting the abuses of the Maduro regime, as listed by UN experts themselves.

• September 2017:  UN Watch and a cross-regional coalition of 12 human rights activists from Latin America, the U.S. and Europe, today called on the UN Human Rights Council to convene an urgent meeting to finally suspend the membership of Venezuela, which was re-elected in 2015. UN Watch expressed “shock” that the U.N. Human Rights Council is allowing Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro to open its session on Monday, September 11, 2017. “The dictator will use the U.N. podium to mock the world, as he continues to starve, beat, torture, jail and kill his own people with impunity,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based non-governmental watchdog organization. “We urge member states not to allow the world’s highest human rights body to be abused in this way.” “Instead, we urge democracies to join together in a robust response. Before Maduro speaks on Monday, Peru on behalf of the Lima Group of nations, supported by the European Union and the United States, should move for an Urgent Debate, and then adopt a version of this resolution (español) to finally expel the Maduro regime from the UNHRC, and to establish a Commission of Inquiry to hold perpetrators of gross human rights abuses to account,” said Neuer. UN Watch has also launched an online petition to pressure democracies to act.
• September 2017: UN Watch’s draft resolution is published by the United Nations as an official document at the UNHRC and circulated to all delegates.
• September 2019: UN Human Rights Council finally adopts a resolution to investigate Venezuela’s human rights violations.


UN Watch

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