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UN delegation to visit Venezuela

By CMC

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GENEVA, Mar 9, CMC – A delegation from the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commission (OHCHR) is due in Venezuela on Monday amid the ongoing economic and political instability in the South American country.

The OHCHR said that five staff members are to tour the country from March 11-22, amid a protracted crisis, arising from a faltering economy, political instability, and violent anti-government demonstrations.

It said that the visit follows an invitation issued last November by President Nicolas Maduro to High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet and reiterated by Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza at the current Human Rights Council session here.

“During its visit, the team will seek to meet with government officials, representatives of the National Assembly, civil society organisations and victims of human rights violations,” OHCHR said in the statement, adding “the team will visit Caracas, as well as other cities in a number of states in Venezuela”.

The statement said it is “standard practice” for a technical team to be deployed ahead of a “possible” visit by her.

This is to ensure that Ms. Bachelet would have “unfettered access to the people and places she would need to visit, to be able to gain a clear understanding of the human rights situation in the country”, OHCHR’s statement explained.

The 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has called for non-interference in the internal affairs in Venezuela where President Maduro is under pressure to step down after Opposition Leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president.

While Guadio has the backing of the United States and several other Western countries, Maduro,, who was sworn in January, is backed by Russia, China, Cuba and several others.

CARICOM has been seeking to play a mediating role in the conflict and said it is concerned that the escalation of the situation is increasing the hardship and suffering of the population exacerbated by the imposition of sanctions” mainly by Washington.

In a statement issued following their inter-sessional summit in St. Kitts-Nevis last month, the 15-member grouping said the people of Venezuela must be allowed to decide their own future in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter.

It said also that “there must be a commitment to the delivery of humanitarian aid in a manner that is not politicised but which uses United Nations mechanisms that have been used over the years for the impartial and effective delivery of humanitarian relief”.

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