UN Expert: Crisis in Venezuela is economic, not humanitarian part II

By Alfred de Zayas Human Rights Corner - Venezuelanalysis

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(VENEZUELANALYSIS) – The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights published on, 30 August 2018, the long-delayed report of the Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order, Alfred-Maurice de Zayas (United States of America, Switzerland) on his visit to Venezuela and Ecuador form 26 November to 9 December 2017.

In paragraph 43, the independent expert writes: “International solidarity with the Venezuelan people should facilitate the free flow of food and medicines in order to alleviate the current scarcity. Help should be genuinely humanitarian and not pursue ulterior political purposes. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Caritas and other organizations could assist in coordinating the importation and distribution of aid; the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation could help wipe out malaria in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Thanks to UNDP, the Independent Expert was able to convene a meeting with all the United Nations agencies and other regional organizations in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela with a view to coordinating assistance, an initiative that bore fruit shortly thereafter.”

In paragraph 45: “The “crisis” in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is an economic crisis, which cannot be compared with the humanitarian crises in Gaza, Yemen, Libya, the Syrian Arab Republic, Iraq, Haiti, Mali, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Somalia, or Myanmar, among others.

It is significant that when, in 2017, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela requested medical aid from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the plea was rejected, because it ‘is still a high-income country … and as such is not eligible’.

The report recalls in paragraph 29 that the “Charter of the United Nations rests on the philosophy of multilateralism, a commitment to international cooperation, and the sovereign equality of States. Countries must not be isolated and boycotted, but helped in strengthening their democratic institutions.

Over the past sixty years, non-conventional economic wars have been waged against Cuba, Chile, Nicaragua, the Syrian Arab Republic, and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in order to make their economies fail, facilitate regime change and impose a neo-liberal socioeconomic model.

In order to discredit selected governments, failures in the field of human rights are maximized so as to make violent overthrow more palatable. Human rights are being ‘weaponized’ against rivals. Yet, human rights are the heritage of every human being and should never be instrumentalized as weapons of demonization. Instead, measures of inclusion are necessary, as is reliance on the expertise of international organizations…

In paragraph 30 the expert notes: “The principles of non-intervention and non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign States belong to customary international law and have been reaffirmed in General Assembly resolutions,
In paragraph 31 he highlights chapter 4, article 19, of the Charter of the OAS, which stipulates that “No State or group of States has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any other State. The foregoing principle prohibits not only armed force but also any other form of interference or attempted threat against the personality of the State or against its political, economic, and cultural elements”.

The independent expert concludes, that “The solution to the Venezuelan crisis lies in good faith negotiations between the Government and the opposition, an end to the economic war, and the lifting of sanctions.

In pursuance of the principle of international solidarity, United Nations agencies should provide advisory services and technical assistance to the Government.

Among his recommendations the expert encouraged the Venezuelan authorities to:

– Continue efforts at dialogue with opposition parties, revive the negotiations hosted in the Dominican Republic by the former prime minister of Spain, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, and promote national reconciliation by releasing detainees and granting commutations of sentence

– Invite other special procedures mandate holders to visit the country, besides the Special Rapporteurs on unilateral coercive measures and on the right to development, who have already been invited. The Special Rapporteurs on food, on health, on adequate housing, on the independence of judges and lawyers .

– Bearing in mind that the Independent Expert was subjected to considerable pre-mission, during-mission and post-mission ad hominem attacks, he recommended in paragraph 68 that the Human Rights Council:

– Reaffirm the Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate Holders, particularly concerning their independence and the commitment to evaluate all information in good faith

– Defend experts against ad hominem attacks, intimidation and threats.

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