The United Nations Human Rights Chief recently condemned the violence that is currently going on in Venezuela. The chief, Navi Pillay, is urging the government to ensure respect for freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Pillay stressed, “The inflammatory rhetoric from all sides is utterly unhelpful and risks escalating the tense situation in the country. It is time for all sides to move beyond verbal aggression and towards meaningful dialogue. This crisis will only be resolved if the human rights of all Venezuelans are respected.”
There have been many reports as of late of excessive forced being used by authorities in response to the protests that are going on, especially in Caracas. This violence has lead to death and injuries and as a result, the U.N. called on both sides to renounce violence. More than 140 people have been injured and 13 people have died since the beginning of the protests and unrest. According to the general Prosecutor, 11 police officers and intelligence officers have been arrested already in connection with the violence that has occurred. Pillay has also urged for a full investigation into every death and injury related to these protests.
Since the unrest has begun, around 570 people have been arrested. Pillay is concerned that, “a very large number of people have been arrested and we have reports indicating that some of them are being held incommunicado. I urge the authorities to ensure that people are not penalized for exercising their rights to peaceful assembly and to freedom of expression.” The U.N. is calling for those who are being detained for merely exercising their rights should be promptly released. They claim that all of these cases shall be handled according to international due process standards. They further urged that there needs to be complete actions by the authorities, which include thorough investigations, will go a long way towards defusing the tensions that have been building up. This includes releasing peaceful protesters who have been detained, as well as disarming armed groups.
Even the Secretary-General of the U.N., Ban-Ki Moon voiced his opinion on the matter. He expressed sadness as a result of the violence and “loss of life” that is occurring as a result of the protests. Moon hopes for “concrete gestures by all parties to reduce polarization and create the necessary conditions to engage in a meaningful dialogue so that calm can be fully restored in the country as soon as possible.”
What should be done by the U.N. to support their condemnation of the violence in Venezuela? Should other countries get involved in this situation, or is it best if the Venezuelan’s deal with this on their own? What should be done to the police officers/government officials who have arrested people for peaceful protesting?