Rights activists hail Venezuela’s departure from UN Human Rights Council
NEW YORK – Activists have hailed the departure of Venezuela from the UN Human Rights Council, saying it sends a powerful message about the importance of human rights.
On Friday, for the first time since 1991, the country’s name is not attached to the organization’s 47-member executive board. The vote to drop Venezuela was carried by an overwhelming majority of 47-to-3 in the General Assembly, which is responsible for allocating seats to the 192 member-states of the UN. The Venezuelan delegation had argued that the country’s absence was “politically motivated.”
“Today, we see a country that’s finally recognizing reality: The human right to peaceful assembly and assembly without interference is a basic requirement of our democratic society – if not the entire world,” said Amnesty International’s regional director for Latin America and Caribbean, Maria Fernanda Valle.
The United Nations had previously stated that Venezuela was not due to join the Human Rights Council until 2020. It did not receive any of the required number of votes in the last cycle of voting.
The resolution means that the UN has effectively removed Venezuela from the organization, which has a mandate to promote human rights worldwide, particularly in relation to human rights in non-democracies like Venezuela. The country is also barred from the organization’s international peace and security council.
Amnesty launched the campaign for the country to be removed from the council after the US recently announced more sanctions against the country.
“This action sends an important message: The international community will be more vigilant in protecting human rights and justice worldwide,” said Amnesty’s regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean.
A delegation of Venezuelans headed by the country’s ambassador to the UN, Carlos León, was invited to attend the vote. The group was scheduled to give testimony this week at the Security Council. It had been due to appear in Geneva next week for a debate on human rights in Venezuela.
“Venezuela’s non-participation in the Human Rights Council is a reflection of the country’s isolation,” said Valle. “It’s a clear message that the country is losing influence amid a wider international debate on the violations of human rights in our neighbors.”
Opposition leader Juan