UN experts: Rights abuses continue in Maduro’s Venezuela

CARACAS, Venezuela – Independent experts working with the United Nations’ leading human rights body say Venezuelan authorities have failed to account for state-backed perpetrators including arbitrary and violent executions. sexual violence and torture of civilians, warning that abuses by intelligence and counterintelligence agencies are continuing.

The third report from the fact-finding mission on Venezuela, commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council, released Tuesday adds new details about a range of human rights abuses – including crimes against humanity. can go against humanity – under the government of President Nicolás Maduro that experts have noted for the first time in two years. formerly.

The report details the chain of command that followed torture, sexual violence and other atrocities in an effort to crack down on the opposition against the government.

The document says Maduro and ruling party leader Diosdado Cabello ordered “to identify targets for investigation,” including civilians and government critics. Members of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service followed those orders, arresting individuals after “a period of surveillance and investigation” and torturing or subjecting them to “cruelty treatment or punishment.” cruel, inhuman or degrading”. Some were tortured for days or weeks.

Intelligence agencies “rely on a variety of torture methods, including beatings, electric shocks, suffocation with plastic bags and stress positions, as well as threats to kill and rape detainees, or other forms of psychological torture,” according to the report. The document says the agency’s main targets include the opposition, students and protest leaders; journalists; and people working for NGOs.

“Venezuela is still facing a profound human rights crisis,” said Marta Valiñas, a Portuguese legal expert who presided over the delegation.

The mission said authorities had not done enough to compensate the victims and warned that the violations continued “to this day” according to the military counterintelligence agency, known as the DGCIM, and Bolivarian National Intelligence Service.

“The Venezuelan authorities have been unable to hold the perpetrators accountable and compensate the victims as the judicial reforms announced from 2021 have failed to address the lack of independence and fairness of the country. justice system,” a statement from the mission said.

The research team, which in part gathered its findings from nearly 250 interviews, documented a total of 122 cases of victims of torture, sexual violence and cruel treatment by DGCIM agents by DGCIM agents. humanitarian or other despicable at its headquarters in Caracas and secret centers around the country.

The report also documents human rights abuses in a remote area where illegal gold mining is common. The area known as Arco Minero del Orinoco was established a decade ago when the country’s oil industry, with the proceeds of which helped the country develop, was abolished.

The area has become heavily militarized and armed groups are allowed to operate. The mission’s findings include attacks on indigenous populations in the area that create opportunities for individuals near power to create personal wealth.

“The mission reviewed public information indicating that members of the Venezuelan military and political elite have benefited and continue to benefit financially from gold mining-related activities in Arco Minero. ,” according to the report.

The experts are expected to present their findings to the panel, which last week began its latest fall session on Monday.

Keaten reports from Geneva.

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