GENEVA, Switzerland – The UN human rights office announced Friday, March 8, that it will send a team to Venezuela next week to meet victims of rights violations, following an invitation from the government.
The “technical mission,” which is expected to be in Venezuela from March 11 to 22, will also try to pave the way for a future visit by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, her office said in a statement.
“The team will seek to meet with Government officials, representatives of the National Assembly, civil society organisations and victims of human rights violations,” it said.
Venezuela’s foreign minister Jorge Arreaza invited Bachelet to visit his country in an address to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva last week.
Before Bachelet can visit, the advance team will try to ensure that she will be given “unfettered access to the people and places she would need to visit to be able to gain a clear understanding of the human rights situation in the country,” the statement said.
Venezuela has been gripped by a devastating political crisis and economic meltdown, which the United States and other countries blame on what they describe as the misrule of President Nicolas Maduro.
The US has led a diplomatic campaign in support of opposition leader Juan Guaido who has declared himself interim president and is recognised by about 50 countries, notably within the EU.
Bachelet, the former president of Chile, has been critical of Maduro’s government but this week also said that economic sanctions pushed for by Washington have “exacerbated” the crisis. – Rappler.com