Venezuela blames United States sanctions for blocking debt financing, oil sales

Venezuela GNB

Venezuelan Vice Foreign Minister William Castillo said, "The sanctions met the body's definition of "unilateral coercive measures" and should be lifted, While addressing a session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland".

U.N. High Commission for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said after a visit to the South American nation its rule of law has "profoundly eroded" and some have faced "reprisals and repression" for exercising freedom of opinion and participation in public life.

According to the report, the deaths were an integral part of President Nicolas Maduro's campaign of "neutralizing, repressing and criminalizing political opponents and people critical of the government".

The Venezuelan Foreign Ministry presented 70 objections to the report, accusing it of having "a selective and openly partial view on the real situation of human rights" in the country.

"The incidence of alleged extrajudicial killings by security forces. has been shockingly high", Bachelet's office said in a statement.

In the accounts, the death squads broke into houses, took belongings and assaulted women and girls, sometimes stripping them naked.

Caracas has said that about 5,287 people died last year when they refused to be detained by officers, and that this has been the case for a further 1,569 through the middle of May this year.

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Last year, the government registered 5,287 killings, purportedly for "resistance to authority" during such operations, between January 1 and May 19 this year, another 1,569 similar killings were registered, according to the report. Bachelet stressed to the council Friday that the possible "extrajudicial killings. should be fully investigated with accountability of perpetrators, and guarantees of non-recurrence".

Families of 20 men described how masked men dressed in black from Venezuela's Special Action Forces (FAES) arrived in black pick-up trucks without licence plates.

Thursday's report also decried a wide range of other grave rights violations in Venezuela, which is caught in an economic crisis and a political standoff between President Nicolas Maduro's government and National Assembly leader Juan Guaido.

The report also focused on the country's worsening economic and humanitarian crisis, noting that "large sections of the population have no access to food distribution" as a result of its "progressive scarcity and unaffordability", with the country's monthly minimum wage equivalent to just a few dollars a month. However, the United Nations report suggested that many of these deaths were actually extrajudicial executions.

"A Catholic priest in Caracas said to me: 'This is not about politics, but about the suffering of the people.' This report too is not about politics, geopolitics, global relations or anything other than being about the human rights to which every Venezuelan is entitled", she added.

"I call on all those with the power and influence - within Venezuela and elsewhere - to work together, and to make the necessary compromises to resolve this all-consuming crisis".

The opposition leader, Guaido, declared himself interim president earlier this year and has been recognised by the United States and more than 50 other countries.

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