On September 16, the so-called “Independent International Facts-Finding Mission about Venezuela” published a “report” concerning the status of human rights in the Bolivarian republic, without the experts visiting the country for its preparation and without doing rigorous investigations in the field.
The untimely publication came two days after the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, recognized the progress made by her office in technical cooperation with the Venezuelan government, with whose authorities she renewed the Memorandum of Understanding signed on September 20, 2019.
In a joint statement to the press this Saturday, the Venezuelan Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jorge Arreaza, and the Attorney General of the Republic, Tarek William Saab, strongly rejected the report and presented a series of evidence and elements that contradict the biased document.
They warned of the serious damage done to the multilateral human rights system and the sacred institution of human rights, with this type of document lacking in rigor.
Among other objectives, the Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Minister suggested, the publication of the report seeks to “torpedo” the work that the government of Venezuela is doing with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights [and] to boycott the process of political dialogue in the country and also the parliamentary elections scheduled for December 6, 2020. In fact, [the report] has been issued in the prelude to the legislative elections.
The document, which has resulted from this parallel commission unauthorized by Venezuela, has its origin in the efforts of the United States government, the Organization of American States (OAS) and the so-called Lima Group, entities that have played a key role in the campaign to delegitimize Venezuelan institutions.
Minister Arreaza warned that the experts of the “independent” mission are “doing politics with human rights and not for human rights”; and described the report as a “monument to war propaganda” against Venezuela.
The aforementioned report presents various methodological flaws regarding the compilation of the information that feeds its publication, since it is only limited to citing alleged “sources” (unverifiable, unfounded or invented) that contributed to that report, as well as “digital information ”, which for the most part is misrepresented and not verifiable.
As the report itself references, it is based on interviews with political actors and was not collected on the ground.
“It is a totally biased report politically, very mediocre legally, but with a serious error for any defender of human rights: they did not come to investigate on the ground, absolutely nothing,” said prosecutor Tarek William Saab, who also added that it did not happen because Venezuela objected to the commission from the very beginning.
The head of criminal [investigations] in Venezuela said that another “serious error” of the commission was the fact of ignoring with “total disrespect” the daily and systematic work carried out in the field by the Public Ministry, the Ombudsman’s Office, the courts and other Venezuelan institutions that guarantee respect for human rights.
The report omits that President Nicolás Maduro has repeatedly called on police and military officials to act in compliance with the law and human rights. Even in 2017, it was expressly and publicly the use of pellet guns and any kind of live amunition to control of demonstrations was expressly forbidden, despite being an instrument authorized by international standards.
In the same way, the report omits the calls of the Minister for Defense, General in Chief Vladimir Padrino López, to the police and military officials to act in accordance with the law and in respect of human rights.
The report also partially cites various statements by President Maduro, taking them out of context and suppressing elements that overturn the thesis they are trying to present.
How did the commission arise?
The so-called “Independent International Facts-Finding Mission about Venezuela” was promoted by the self-proclaimed Lima Group, with the support of the European Union, in an attempt to hide the serious human rights violations that occurred in their countries (Chile, Ecuador, Colombia).
The mission, created from a tendentious resolution approved by the vote of 19 member countries of the UN Human Rights Council, was rejected by the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry in December 2019.
Currently, the government of Venezuela is working in coordination with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, within the framework of the Letter of Understanding signed in September 2019, in accordance with the provisions of Resolution A / HRC / 42/4, adopted by the Human Rights Council at its 42nd session, which is why the Venezuelan state does not recognize any parallel mission.
The report, therefore, generates internal contradictions in the United Nations and tries to ignore the joint work of Venezuela with the Human Rights Council through the office of High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet.
Featured image: Photo courtesy of MPPRE