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High Commissioner of DD. H H. calls for an end to arbitrary arrests and torture

High Commissioner of DD.  H H.  calls for an end to arbitrary arrests and torture

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Caracas (AFP) – The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, on Saturday encouraged the Venezuelan authorities to release all those arbitrarily detained and take measures to end torture, after a two-day visit to the country.

“I asked that all the people detained arbitrarily be released,” Türk declared in English from the Maiquetía international airport, which serves Caracas, minutes before leaving the country.

The High Commissioner arrived in Venezuela on Thursday to hold meetings with the authorities of President Nicolás Maduro’s Administration and civil society groups, following an invitation made by the Government.

“I was promised that complaints of torture would be dealt with (…) that they will be investigated and those responsible prosecuted. I encouraged the authorities to take decisive action to put an end to torture once and for all,” he said after mentioning that he heard stories of some victims.

NGOs and civil society groups have repeatedly denounced “systematic violations” of human rights in Venezuela, especially by state security forces. Türk mentioned that “extrajudicial” executions continue to be carried out and that “there is trauma in people.”

However, he stressed that the Government was willing to continue working to “improve the Justice system” and applauded Maduro’s public willingness to do so.

“I am confident that soon we will have unrestricted access to all detention centers in the country,” he said.

The High Commissioner will continue his work in Venezuela

The UN High Commissioner has been working in Venezuela since 2019, under the representation of a commission that was installed by Michelle Bachelet, Türk’s predecessor, in order to monitor and provide assistance in the human rights situation after a wave of complaints from victims.

Before leaving office, Bachelet said she saw progress on human rights, but there was still “more to do.”

Türk pointed out that his office will continue to work and provide technical assistance for two more years in the country.

The High Commissioner also encouraged the authorities to take into account the “importance of guaranteeing civic space” after the recent proposal for a law that seeks to regulate the operation of NGOs.

“I was able to share our observations and concerns (…) and I asked that a broad consultative process be established on the law,” he said.

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Written by Editor TLN

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