Human Rights

UN High Commissioner Urges Venezuela to Address Human Rights Concerns Amid Rising Civic Restrictions and Economic Challenges


PRESS RELEASE OHCHR © OHCHR/Irina Popa UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk. (file)

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk reported increasing restrictions on civic spaces, urging stakeholders to reverse course. Addressing the Geneva-based Human Rights Council, Türk highlighted the growing reports of detentions as the election day approaches, including the arrests of opposition supporters and members. He emphasized that such actions do not bode well and called for an immediate change in these practices.

Venezuelan Presidential elections are scheduled for 28 July, with local, regional, and legislative polls planned for 2025. Türk stressed that these elections are key opportunities to respect the people’s will. He underscored the importance of constructive and open dialogue among the populace and state institutions to overcome deep divisions and rebuild the social contract among Venezuelans.

In his briefing, Türk also expressed concerns over the economic conditions in Venezuela. Despite official figures indicating a 5% growth in GDP last year, Venezuelans still face significant obstacles in accessing food, health, and education. Women, people in rural areas, and indigenous communities are disproportionately affected. Türk cited reports showing that almost three-quarters of the country’s health centers lacked medical or nursing staff between July and August last year, and the criminalization of abortion continues to lead to unsafe procedures, resulting in maternal mortality and morbidity. He urged the authorities to address these concerns in line with international obligations and called for the lifting of sectoral sanctions that have exacerbated human rights challenges.

High Commissioner Türk also voiced concern over the alarming numbers of femicide, noting that 186 cases were reported between January and November last year. He stressed the need for thorough investigations into these killings and stronger prevention and response efforts. While acknowledging the protocol developed by the Office of the Attorney General as a first step, he emphasized that much more is needed to effectively tackle the issue of femicide in Venezuela.

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