Venezuela joins the UN Human Rights Council

The vote comes after the creation of a commission on extrajudicial executions.

Time to Reading 3 min.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro during a television program on October 15 in La Guaira (Venezuela). MARCELO GARCIA / AFP

In the hemicycle of the UN General Assembly, the session president, the Nigerian Tijjani Muhammad-Band, writes, Thursday, October 17, the results of the ballot for the renewal of nearly a third of the Council of the Rights of the man. It's a shock. Despite criticism from NGOs and Latin American countries, Venezuela won a seat with 105 votes for the period 2020-2022, in this United Nations body in charge of "Promote and protect human rights".

Two seats were available for Latin America. Brazil won the second with 153 votes. Costa Rica, which had tried to block Venezuela, had only 96 votes in a secret ballot. The "Oh! "Indignation was quickly stifled by a Venezuelan delegation that applauded itself. Venezuela had already sat from 2013 to 2015 and from 2016 to 2018.

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"That a country like Venezuela is a" judge in human rights "is obscene! " exclaims Hillel Neuer, director of the NGO UN Watch. This is the signal conveyed by this vote that worries NGOs. "It's a punch in the face for the defenders of Venezuela, explains Eleanor Openshaw, director of International Service for Human Rights. They must ask themselves whether the international community is really involved in promoting rights in Venezuela. " The United States and some 50 other countries have refused to recognize Nicolas Maduro's re-election in 2018, considering the Speaker of Parliament, Juan Guaido, as the legitimate president since January.

Investigation of violations

Several NGOs have also campaigned to sensitize the UN member states to vote responsibly, consistent with the requirements of the Council's constitution created in 2006 and instead choose Costa Rica. "It seems that China and Russia have mobilized their support and encouraged this vote, thinking that Costa Rica was piloted by the United States", entrusts an observer. The 122 countries of the non-aligned group had in any case publicly dubbed the candidacy of Nicolas Maduro's regime in July. At the Venezuelan Mission of the UN, joined by telephone, the atmosphere is festive. But we refuse to answer the questions of the World.

The hugs and laughter heard in the background certainly contrast with the atmosphere that reigned there three weeks ago, when the same council set up, on 27 September, an independent fact-finding mission on the violations committed by Venezuela. According to the UN, nearly 18,000 Venezuelans have been murdered by the police since 2016, most of them were victims of extrajudicial executionss. "Nicolas Maduro has already said that he will not cooperate, recalls Beatriz Borges, the director of the Venezuelan NGO Cepaz. It is completely absurd that Venezuela could have been a candidate for this council! "

"A total failure"

"The election of Maduro's representative on the Human Rights Council is a farce that undermines the Council's already fragile credibility," said in a statement the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, whose country left the board in 2018. The European countries have, for their part, for the moment remained silent.

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Besides Venezuela, authoritarian countries such as Mauritania, Libya and Sudan have been designated among the member states that will take office on 1st January 2020, in the neighborhood of Venezuela. "In Mauritania, between 10% and 20% of the population are treated as slaves; in Sudan, there are excisions; and in Libya there are cases of torture, as well as slave markets, details Hillel Neuer. All these countries should have been disqualified. This Council was to replace in 2006 the Commission on Human Rights, which sheltered too many authoritarian regimes. Thirteen years later, it's a total failure. "


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