UN: Attacks in Venezuela Spike Against Government’s Political Opponents
By Lisa Schlein / Voice of America March 30, 2020
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet is deploring the violent, escalating attacks against political opponents of the regime of Nicolás Maduro. Bachelet presented an oral update of the situation in Venezuela to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva on March 10.
Bachelet said the human rights situation in Venezuela has worsened since she last reported on conditions in that country in December. She said opponents of the Maduro regime are in a particularly difficult and dangerous situation.
As political tensions increase, Bachelet said, so does violence against opposition members of parliament and other dissidents by security forces and government supporters. She said several parliament members have been arrested.
“My office has also documented acts of aggression against members of the political opposition, protesters and journalists. And, the security forces did not act to prevent such acts of aggression […]. We have also registered cases of seizures targeting political parties and NGOs. These acts of aggression are usually accompanied by a rhetoric that stigmatizes, exposes and discredits the victims and justifies violence” the U.N. human rights chief said.
Bachelet, a former president of Chile, said she is also concerned about pending legislation to sanction human rights organizations that receive funding from abroad. Other causes for alarm, she said, are growing restrictions on the freedom of trade unions, whose leaders often face arbitrary detention. She added her office receives allegations that some people under arrest have been subjected to cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment.