Rights activists hail Venezuela’s departure from UN Human Rights Council
CARACAS, Venezuela, Dec. 17 (UPI) — Venezuela has earned its place as human rights hero, with the nation’s exit from the U.N. Human Rights Council being hailed as a major first step as the international body continues to examine the use of force in Venezuela.
The Venezuelan Foreign Minister, Maria Corina Machado, said Wednesday the government was stepping back from its support of the international body and its attempts at imposing its will on Venezuela.
The Venezuelan ambassador to the United Nations, Maria Fernanda Espinoza, said the South American country had been on the Human Rights Council almost a decade, as well as being one of the organization’s founding members.
“The Venezuela that was on the council has the right to go its own way, separate from the outside world,” Espinoza said.
The Venezuelan foreign minister said she would ask for the dissolution of the UNHRC, and a new group created to focus only on the rights of people in Venezuela.
Machado said the government was “ready to listen to all criticisms” of its behavior and decisions, but that there was no need for another review or another vote at the U.N’s top human rights body.
“We are leaving with no problems or problems,” Machado said. “We are leaving with nothing.”
The statement by Machado comes a day after the Council of Europe, the European Parliament, the Council of Latin American and the Caribbean States, and the Organization of American States said the Venezuelan government violated Venezuela’s human rights and international human rights obligations with “extraordinary use of force and against the rule of law.”
The Organization of American States and the Council of Europe also said the Venezuelan government had been “deliberately obstructing the activities of the International mechanism for the establishment of a durable peace through negotiations” since 2004, when the Organization of American States became the third permanent member of the UN Human Rights Council.
“The Council of Europe and the Organization of American States have consistently criticized the government for its violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms,” Venezuela’s ambassador to the United Nations, Maria Fernanda Espinoza, said Wednesday.
“We are leaving with no problems,” she said, adding that Venezuela remained committed to human rights, democracy and peace.
In a statement, Venezuela’s diplomats also said the government would