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No debemos tener miedo a soñar lo imposible, para que lo imposible se haga realidad por Diego Arria – Discurso en el 2020 Geneva Summit for Human Rights & Democracy – 21 de Febrero 2020

No debemos tener miedo a soñar lo imposible, para que lo imposible se haga realidad EL Video en español de mi intervención en el evento: 2020 Geneva Summit for Human Rights & Democracy

 

Maduro pertenece al Consejo de Derechos Humanos de la ONU?

Pablo Escobar y el Chapo Guzman, dos de los mas famosos Narcos del mundo nunca pudieron gobernar sus países, Colombia y México, sin embargo sus contrapartes y asociados en Venezuela si lograron semejante poder para destruir, devastar y despoblar un pais que fue rico, libre y democrático?

Estos son los principales:Nicolás Maduro, su esposa Cilia Flores y sus dos hijos que sirven una condena en los Estados Unidos por trafico de drogas .El Presidente del Partido del Gobierno, el Chapo Diosdado Cabello, la Vice Presidente Delcy Rodríguez, el Presidente de la Corte Suprema de Justicia, Maikel Moreno, el Ministro de la Defensa, Vladimir Padrino, Tareck el Aisami Vice presidente asuntos industriales, quien está en la lista de los diez personas mas buscadas en los Estados  Unidos, mas otro numeroso contingente de jerarcas civiles y militares. Todos denunciados ante la Corte Penal Internacional, incluyendo a Jorge Arreaza, Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores como inductor y cómplice de crímenes de lesa humanidad.

Todos sancionados por las autoridades de los Estados Unidos por delitos de trafico de drogas, violaciones graves a los derechos humanos y por lavado de dinero. La Comisión Europea se ha sumado, al igual que para impedir su acceso a los 26 países Shengen.

Por que estamos hoy aquí?

Soy uno mas de los miles de venezolanos  forzados al exilio como victima de las conspiraciones para delinquir de Maduro y sus compinches. Mientras representé a mi país ante las Naciones Unidas incluyendo presidir su Consejo de Seguridad defendimos  y promovimos las mejores causas de la humanidad sin  imaginarme que un dia  estaría aquí de nuevo al canto del Palais des Nations  denunciando la naturaleza criminal de Maduro y sus cómplices civiles y militares.

En octubre de 2019 en la Asamblea General de la ONU en la elección de los nuevos miembros del Consejo Derechos Humanos se produjo un resultado avergonzante al elegir por nueve votos de diferencia a la corporación criminal de Maduro derrotando a Costa Rica la mas antigua democracia de la America Latina. Todo a pesar de que sesenta países democráticos solo reconocen a Juan Guaido, como Presidente de Venezuela, pero desde Chávez la narco tiranía ha sido muy generosa con el tesoro de nuestro país para comprar acomodos y complicidades.

Definitivamente Maduro representa una corporación criminal con asociados terroristas internacionales, y así debe ser entendido por todos los que integran el Consejo de Derechos Humanos, y el propio SG Guterres.

Distinguidos amigos: Esa Corporación Criminal ha secuestrado a Venezuela que a pesar de registrar un rechazo popular superior al ochenta por ciento, se mantiene gracias a una cúpula militar corrupta y a la cooperación de Rusia y China.

Pero Cuba es la equivalente de la potencia ocupante que tutela a Venezuela con mas de veinte mil agentes in situ, mas que los españoles a los que combatimos durante nuestra primera Guerra de Independencia. Importante  para el grupo criminal gobernante por los servicios que presta de espionaje y control de civiles y militares, al igual que en técnicas de represión y tortura.

Pero todo esto no es solo mi opinión. Michelle Bachelet, la Alta Comisionada de Derechos Humanos de la ONU, al igual que su antecesor Zeid Raad Al Hussein dijo textualmente en su ultimo informe del 4 de Julio de 2019:

“La situación de derechos humanos sigue afectando a millones de personas. Exhorto-dijo-a todas las personas con poder e influencia-tanto en Venezuela como en el resto del mundo-a que colaboren y contraigan los compromisos necesarios para solucionar esta crisis que está ARRANSANDOLO TODO.”

No pudo ser mas precisa.

No estan solos los Altos Comisionados pues no existe una sola entidad dedicada a los derechos humanos que no se haya pronunciado solidariamente sobre nuestra tragedia. De acuerdo con PROVEA en 2019 las torturas aumentaron en 500%  llegando a 554 victimas. Los dos casos mas recientes fueron el del Concejal Fernando Albán que estando detenido por el SEBIN, Servicio de Inteligencia Militar, la brutal y criminal Stassi Madurista fue lanzado desde un décimo piso, pretendiendo luego que se había suicidado estando bajo su custodia.

El caso del Capitán Rafael Acosta Arévalo detenido 21 de junio del 2019 y torturado a manos de policías y militares hasta su muerte el 28 junio.

Las ejecuciones extrajudiciales superan las diez mil anuales. La FAES Fuerza de Acción Especial de la Policía Bolivariana tiene el infame record de ejecuciones en las barriadas populares recientemente denunciado por Human Rights Watch . De igual modo los otros dos instrumentos de represión y tortura: La DGCIM Direccion de Inteligencia Militar,

y CICPC Cuerpo Investigaciones Científicas , Penales y Criminalísticas

En todo este horripilante cuadro lo mas condenable es que la tortura es practicada sistemáticamente como política de estado. La llaman, “Sanción Ejemplarizante” para aterrorizar a los disidentes

Sin embargo a pesar de todo lo que les he narrado la próxima semana la corporación criminal de Maduro escondida detrás del nombre de Venezuela, se sentará como uno de los 47 miembros del Consejo de Derechos Humanos, concebido para impedir que los Maduros de este mundo pudiesen colarse allí. Definitivamente no es una manera de celebrar los 75 años de las Naciones Unidas.

A quien apelamos como solicita la Alta Comisionada Bachelet?

El Consejo de Seguridad como cúpula política del mundo debería pronunciarse sobre el caso venezolano-pero no lo hace pues Rusia y China colaboradores de la corporación criminal de Maduro veta toda mención al caso. Ahora por los avances de Rusia en nuestro pais  nos están involucrando en una guerra fría.  Gracias a la iniciativa de Nikki Haley la ex embajadora de los Estados Unidos ante la ONU se celebraron dos reuniones en el Consejo de Seguridad sobre la crisis humanitaria bajo la “Formula Arria”, modalidad que me honra llevando mi nombre..

La Corte Penal Internacional en la Haya?

Lleva mas de dos años procesando información. La Fiscal Fatou Bensouda no muestra interés en tomar acción que permita al mínimo detener el proceso de destrucción de nuestro pais, de la espiral de violencia, de las ejecuciones extrajudiciales, de las torturas, del éxodo forzado que alcanza ya unos cinco millones de compatriotas.

A la Fiscal tampoco le ha sido suficiente el informe presentado por un panel de expertos internacionales independientes designado por el Secretario General de la Organización de los Estados Americanos (OEA) que concluyó que existe fundamento suficiente para considerar que se han cometido crímenes de lesa humanidad en Venezuela. Hasta el ex Fiscal Luis Moreno Ocampo participò en este proceso, al cual se sumaron las denuncias ante la Fiscal de los gobiernos de Canada, Argentina ,Chile Perú, Colombia, Paraguay y Costa Rica. Francia envío comunicación respaldando el informe.

Lamento decir que afortunadamente durante la tragedia sufrida por el pueblo Bosnio musulman, creamos en el Consejo de Seguridad del cual yo formaba parte, el Tribunal Penal Internacional para la Antigua Yugoslavia y se pudo procesar y condenar a los criminales Slobodan Milosevic, Radovan Karadzic y el general Ratko Mladic, los carniceros de los Balcanes. Fui testigo de la Fiscalía contra ellos. Si estos procesos hubiesen estado a cargo de la Fiscal Bensouda no tengo dudas que estarían libres-y que Milosevic habría muerto en libertad.

El Secretario General de la ONU?

De acuerdo con la carta de las ONU Artículo 99, el Secretario General puede llamar la atención del Consejo de Seguridad hacia cualquier asunto que pueda poner en peligro el mantenimiento de la paz y la seguridad internacionales lo cual debería ser suficiente para que el llamado de alarma de la Alta Comisionada Bachelet ”Antes que todo sea destruido” sea atendido por el SG.

Curiosamente el Secretario General Guterres consulta con grupos regionales como el Africano, sin embargo no lo hace con el Secretario General de la OEA a pesar de que Venezuela es el caso mas critico de nuestra región, al tiempo que continùa la tradición onusiana de  limitarse a insistir en negociaciones sin fin donde consideran como iguales a victimas y victimarios,  la equivalencia amoral que tantos muertos ha causado y sigue causando.

Lo contrario viene sucediendo en los ultimos cuatro años en la OEA donde su secretario general, Luis Almagro ha desenterrado una organización medio agonizante y nunca firme ante tragedias como la venezolana y la cubana. Almagro igual que el SG ONU  tiene la potestad para llevar a la atención del Consejo Permanente cualquier asunto que pudiese afectar la paz y la seguridad del Continente. No cabe duda que el Secretario General Almagro ha asumido con tal firmeza esta potestad, al punto que hoy a días de las elecciones en la OEA algunos países han depositado sus energías en impedir que Almagro siga al frente de la OEA, y con ello continúen las denuncias de regímenes como los de Cuba, Venezuela y Nicaragua, apoyando a otros candidatos con menos credenciales y poca estatura política. Por ello creo que en esta elección se juega en gran medida el rescate de la libertad para países como el mío.

Amigos todos;

Gracias a UN Watch y muy en especial a su líder Hillel Neur, hoy iniciamos oficialmente una Campaña Global que pretende que la Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas suspenda como primer paso a la corporación criminal de Maduro del Consejo de Derechos Humanos, al que seguiría otro para la revocación de sus credenciales ante la ONU.

UN Watch me ha honrado designándome para presidirla campaña para lo cual me acompaña un pequeño grupo de extraordinarios voluntarios, sin lo cual este esfuerzo no seria posible. No es ni fácil ni sencillo lo que pretendemos pero nos anima que UN Watch iniciò una campaña similar en 2011 que facilito que en 2012 el regimen de Ghadafi fuese expulsado del CDH. Pero estamos conscientes de que para que nuestro legitimo reclamo tenga respaldo en la Asamblea General de la ONU debemos obtener el mayor numero de firmas en nuestra petición. Hoy la iniciamos con 126 mil firmas y vamos por el millón.Ayudennos.

En conclusión:

Muy sinceramente creo que los primeros que celebraran el éxito de la campaña será la mayoría de los países integrantes del CDH cuando los liberemos de la odiosa y repugnante presencia de la narco tiranía entre ellos, sin embargo no somos tan ingenuos para pensar que con nuestra campaña suspendiendo al narco tirano Maduro del CDH vamos a rescatar a nuestra libertad , pero si  conocemos la importancia de contar con una  opinión publica internacional bien informada de la  tenebrosa realidad venezolana. Eso pretendemos.

Ante este desolador panorama que en cualquier sociedad podría fulminarla al estar atrapada en un proceso de intimidación, de carencias de todo genero, de inseguridad, de desmembramiento familiar, la resignación puede acabar sellando la suerte de una nación. Y ante a ese peligro estamos.

Y no estamos blindados para que esto no nos ocurra. Pero para impedirlo es indispensable que generemos con urgencia la inspiración colectiva  nacional necesaria para decidir y asumir el precio que estemos dispuestos a pagar para rescatar nuestra libertad y refundar la república. El mundo necesita conocer a que estamos dispuestos hacer ahora, ya en el pasado dimos innumerables pruebas de valor y compromiso a un altisimo costo.

Finalmente les confieso que experimenté una fuerte experiencia personal durante la guerra en Bosnia que ha marcado mi vida. Que me demostró que a pesar de que por tres años denuncie que mientras los Serbios supiesen que nadie les pondría un dedo encima seguirían su carrera genocida, pero los miembros permanentes del Consejo de Seguridad insistieron por cuatro largos años en insterminables negociaciones que al final le costo la vida a mas de 200 mil bosnios musulmanes.

Atencion: Maduro y asociados piensan igual. Que nadie les pondrá un dedo encima. La comunidad internacional sabe que de ser así se perpetuaría la tiranía,

No se conoce un caso donde una corporación criminal ceda su poder graciosamente y menos aun cuando son tratados con toda deferencia y cordialidad  hasta por el propio SG ONU y se les invita a formar parte del CDH.

Amigos todos: Nunca nos rendiremos.

No puedo olvidar que todo lo que soy se lo debo a ser venezolano.

Porque me anima y me inspira recordar a tantos venezolanos que han dado su vida.

Aqui con nosotros Rosa Orozco, madre de Geraldine asesinada a sangre fria por guardias nacionales en una manifestación pacífica. Solo tenía 23 años, igual que mis hijas morochas

Por nuestros cientos de presos políticos.

Por nuestros compatriotas desterrados.

Por los jóvenes que les han impedido hasta soñar

Por todo, y para que no olvidemos  les recuerdo hoy a Václav Havel que decía:

“ No debemos tener miedo de soñar lo aparentemente imposible,

si queremos que lo aparentemente imposible se convierta en realidad.”

(We must not be afraid of dreaming the seemingly impossible, if we want the seemingly impossibly to become a reality)

Esa tarea nos toca a todos los venezolanos.

 

Discurso del Embajador John Bolton Conferencia Internacional por la Democracia en Venezuela – Lima, Perú – 6 de Agosto 2019

Muchas gracias señor Presidente, y gracias a todos los representantes internacionales que están presentes hoy aquí y a todos los que colaboraron para que este evento fuera posible. Además, quisiera dar la bienvenida a todos los representantes de los 56 países que reconocen al presidente interino de Venezuela, Juan Guaidó, y a todas las demás naciones que están aquí hoy y que apoyan un proceso democrático.

Es muy grato para mí estar en Lima, donde se creó el “Grupo de Lima”, en un país que ha demostrado su determinación de ayudar a su vecino, Venezuela, en los momentos más oscuros. Estados Unidos agradece a Perú por todos los esfuerzos que ha hecho para abordar la crisis humanitaria en Venezuela.

También agradecemos a los otros países, en especial Colombia y Brasil, que han asumido un rol de liderazgo en responder a la crisis de refugiados. Ustedes han dado un ejemplo de cómo ayudar a sus hermanas y hermanos venezolanos.

En 1910, el presidente estadounidense Theodore Roosevelt dio un discurso en París con el título Ciudadanía en una República, en el cual se refirió a las cualidades necesarias para ser buenos ciudadanos y buenos líderes. Los buenos ciudadanos se atreven a actuar en nombre de sus familias, sus comunidades y sus países. Roosevelt expresó que era cobarde mantenerse al margen y limitarse a criticar. Él dijo : “No son los críticos los que cuentan… el mérito es de los hombres que están efectivamente en la arena, que se ensucian el rostro con polvo, sudor y sangre”.

Cincuenta y seis países reconocen al presidente interino de Venezuela, Juan Guaidó, como el “hombre en la arena”, que une a la Oposición y que lucha por la libertad contra un régimen autoritario ilegítimo. Maduro utiliza escuadrones de la muerte, entrenados y equipados por Cuba, para secuestrar, encarcelar, torturar y matar a casi 10.000 de sus ciudadanos. Su régimen ha reducido el salario básico a menos del 5 por ciento del precio de la canasta alimentaria esencial, lo cual obliga a las familias a revolver la basura en busca de algo para alimentarse ellos y sus hijos. Su régimen ha rechazado entregas de medicamentos, lo que implica condenar a muerte a más de 1.600 hombres, mujeres y niños inocentes. Y su régimen ha instalado equipos de vigilancia de China para controlar lo qué hacen los ciudadanos comunes y manipular a los medios de comunicación con el fin de que difundan mentiras y propaganda.

Con gente hambrienta en las calles, el régimen de Maduro politizó un programa de alimentos subsidiados como parte de sus acciones para imponer controles sociales. La semana pasada, Estados Unidos anunció sanciones y cargos penales contra los responsables de un mecanismo de corrupción masivo; los secuaces de Maduro se apropiaron de millones de dólares correspondientes a un programa destinado a alimentar a millones de venezolanos hambrientos.

Ya hemos visto esto antes. Estas no son las acciones de un presidente legítimo o un “servidor del pueblo”. Estas atrocidades son los actos de un cruento dictador. Tienen que preguntarse… ¿quiénes pueden apoyar a un tirano así? Pues basta mirar a Cuba, Rusia, China e Irán.

Las fuerzas de seguridad y los servicios de inteligencia de Cuba son el pilar del apoyo exterior a este dictador. Estados Unidos está tomando medidas afirmativas para cortar los lazos entre Venezuela y Cuba. Nuestras sanciones contra embarcaciones que transportan petróleo entre ambos países son apenas una primera medida.

A ambos, a Rusia y a China les decimos que el apoyo que brindan al régimen de Maduro es intolerable, en particular para el régimen democrático que reemplazará a Maduro. A Rusia, y sobre todo a quienes controlan sus finanzas, les volvemos a decir lo siguiente: “¡No redoblen una apuesta equivocada!”. Para China, que ya se muestra desesperada por recuperar las pérdidas financieras, la vía más rápida para recuperar su dinero es apoyar un nuevo gobierno legítimo.

China se opone a la intervención extranjera en Venezuela, y ese sería un argumento más que válido para que todas las fuerzas militares y paramilitares cubanas y rusas se vayan de Venezuela de inmediato. En este Hemisferio, tenemos el imperativo moral de defender a nuestros vecinos frente a amenazas, ya sean internas o externas, que socaven la paz, la seguridad y la prosperidad.

Maduro ha estado apostando a que el mundo le permita seguir burlándose de la Oposición, mientras sigue oprimiendo, robando y asesinando en beneficio propio. Sin embargo, Maduro se está quedando sin cuerda. Venezuela está ahora entre los países más pobres del planeta. Las personas huyen por millones. Maduro no puede confiar en sus generales. Los soldados han decidido que el régimen va en contra de la población, y están desertando en cifras record.

Ahora está seriamente en duda la disponibilidad de las fuerzas militares venezolanas, algo que no hace más que fortalecer el peso de los cubanos y otros actores externos. Maduro confía en ganarles por cansancio a la comunidad internacional y al pueblo de Venezuela. Con nuestra presencia hoy aquí, mostramos que la comunidad internacional mantiene su firme determinación de incrementar la presión y acelerar la transición pacífica hacia la única institución gubernamental legítima que hay en Venezuela hoy, la Asamblea Nacional. Estados Unidos no se quedará pasivo mientras se secuestra, tortura y asesina a venezolanos, y millones de personas se ven obligadas a huir.

Vemos que Maduro sigue usando las tácticas de siempre, simulando estar interesado en el diálogo, cuando todos sabemos que simplemente está ganando tiempo y no hace otra cosa que burlarse de todos.

No vamos a caer en estas viejas artimañas de un agotado dictador. No más burlas. Ahora es momento de la acción.

Estados Unidos ha dejado en claro desde enero que nuestra política es apoyar al presidente interino Guaidó, a la Asamblea Nacional democráticamente electa y al pueblo venezolano. Reconocer a la Asamblea Nacional ha sido nuestro paso individual más importante para promover una transición constitucional pacífica. Nos hemos asegurado de que haya una vía constitucional para terminar con la dictadura y que puedan llevarse a cabo elecciones libres y justas.

Desde 2017, Estados Unidos ha realizado más de 200 designaciones relacionadas con Venezuela conforme a varias Órdenes Ejecutivas y leyes federales.

Nuestra política ha impuesto presión a Maduro y a sus colaboradores y a quienes lo sostienen, que se benefician con la miseria del pueblo venezolano.

Nuestras acciones han sido deliberadas, precisas y meditadas, a fin de cerciorarnos de que protejan al pueblo venezolano y que este tenga acceso a lo que necesita para sobrevivir. En los últimos seis meses, hemos emitido sanciones contra más de 100 personas y entidades clave que han servido de sostén a Maduro, como PdVSA, el Banco Central de Venezuela y el Banco de Desarrollo de Venezuela (BANDES). Nos cercioraremos de que Maduro se quede sin formas de mantenerse económicamente.

Pero, en el día de hoy, estamos aquí para hacer más. No solo estamos dispuestos a NO mitigar las sanciones contra el régimen de Maduro, ayer el Presidente Trump firmó una orden ejecutiva por el cual impuso sanciones de bloqueo total a activos del Gobierno de Venezuela en nuestra jurisdicción. Esta Orden Ejecutiva inmoviliza todos los activos del Gobierno venezolano y prohíbe realizar transacciones con estos, a menos que esté expresamente prevista una excepción. Fundamentalmente, esta Orden Ejecutiva también autoriza sanciones contra personas extranjeras que brindan apoyo o bienes o servicios a CUALQUIER persona designada, incluido el Gobierno de Venezuela. Asimismo, esta medida restringe sustancialmente el ingreso a Estados Unidos por parte de personas sancionadas. Quisiera dejar en claro que este Decreto Ejecutivo, con vastos efectos, autoriza al Gobierno estadounidense a identificar y convertir en blanco de sanciones a personas que sigan brindando apoyo al régimen ilegítimo de Nicolás Maduro.

Actuando directamente contra las instituciones gestionadas ilegítimamente por Maduro o alineadas con este, y envía un mensaje directo a todos aquellos que sostienen su dictadura y atentan contra la Asamblea Nacional democráticamente electa o el presidente interino Juan Guaidó. Estamos dando este paso para privar a Maduro del acceso al sistema financiero global y seguir aislándolo internacionalmente. Asimismo, estamos enviando un mensaje a los terceros países que desean hacer negocios con el régimen de Maduro, y les decimos que actúen con suma cautela. No hay necesidad de poner en riesgo sus intereses comerciales con Estados Unidos para lucrar mediante un régimen corrupto y agonizante.

Es la primera vez en 30 años que estamos imponiendo una inmovilización de activos contra un gobierno en este Hemisferio. La dictadura de Maduro ha quedado advertida. No hemos tomado una medida de este tipo desde la inmovilización de activos del gobierno de Noriega en Panamá en 1988, el embargo comercial a Nicaragua en 1985, o la vasta inmovilización de activos y embargo comercial de Cuba en 1962. En cada uno de estos casos, utilizamos sólidas herramientas económicas contra dictaduras que estaban destruyendo a sus países con corrupción, violencia y represión.

Funcionó en Panamá, funcionó una vez en Nicaragua y volverá a funcionar allí, ¡y funcionará en Venezuela y Cuba! Estados Unidos ha usado herramientas similares, e incluso más enérgicas, en Irán, Corea del Norte y Siria. Ahora Venezuela forma parte de este exclusivísimo club de Estados delincuentes.

Este bloqueo no es en contra del pueblo de Venezuela, sino del régimen de Maduro. Estados Unidos ha tomado cuidadosas medidas para proteger el acceso del pueblo venezolano a bienes humanitarios y necesidades básicas. Como prueba de nuestra determinación de ayudar a los venezolanos, hemos actuado para proteger al presidente interino Guaidó, la Asamblea Nacional y sus aliados, emitiendo 21 nuevas Licencias Generales para excluir actividades, como la provisión de artículos humanitarios, la entrega de correo, las telecomunicaciones, el acceso a Internet y las actividades que desarrollan organizaciones internacionales y no gubernamentales.

Y, hoy más tarde, el Secretario de Comercio, Wilbur Ross, les describirá los planes que él y otros han estado haciendo para el día después en Venezuela, cuando caiga la dictadura.

Aspiramos a que se produzca una transición pacífica del poder, pero como lo ha manifestado el presidente Trump desde un primer momento: “Todas las opciones están sobre la mesa”.

Ahora es el momento de actuar. Estados Unidos está actuando con contundencia para aislar financieramente a Maduro y acelerar una transición democrática pacífica. Esperamos que nuestros socios internacionales tomen medidas, porque cuanto más esperemos, más sufrirá el pueblo venezolano. Hemos dejado en claro que Maduro, los rusos y los cubanos no deberían hacer nada que perjudique a más civiles inocentes, ni deberían tomar represalias contra Juan Guaidó. Debemos trabajar juntos para proteger a este Hemisferio de injerencias extranjeras, que amenazan la paz y la seguridad regional, la democracia y la prosperidad.

Es tiempo de que se ponga fin de manera pacífica al régimen tiránico de Maduro, para bien de todo el Hemisferio Occidental. Estados Unidos apoya al pueblo venezolano en su esfuerzo por reclamar su orgulloso patrimonio, recuperar la vida pacífica y recobrar su libertad.

Gracias señor Presidente.

La democracia en Venezuela, experiencia y futuro por Luis Ugalde S.J. – Discurso Homenaje a Juan Carlos Rey en la Academia de Ciencias Políticas – 2 de Julio 2019

Quiero agradecer de todo corazón esta iniciativa de justo reconocimiento a Juan Carlos Rey, sobresaliente profesor y maestro que ha marcado con su sello personal los estudios políticos en nuestro país y agradezco también la oportunidad que me da esta Academia de Ciencias Políticas de manifestarle públicamente como panelista mi profundo aprecio como alumno suyo que fui hace 56 años. Sus clases magistrales en la cátedra de Historia de las Instituciones abrieron mis ojos y pusieron los cimientos a la comprensión política; años después me correspondió en la Escuela de Ciencias Sociales de la UCAB asumir esa cátedra algo cambiada y desdoblada en dos, Teorías Políticas Contemporáneas y Cambio Social en Venezuela.

Para ser justo con el tiempo de ustedes y de mis compañeros panelistas, trataré de decir algo en 20 minutos, lo que me obligará a hacer algunas afirmaciones sin presentar el debido sustento, con la esperanza de que el diálogo posterior nos permita aclarar.

1- Rescate ético de la democracia

Cuando pienso en el futuro de la democracia me veo obligado a resaltar el profundo impacto populista de Chávez con sello antidemocrático y anti pacto social. Su mesianismo y su división maniquea de la sociedad en patriotas y traidores del pueblo ponían una carga explosiva a la democracia; ahora la tenemos que desmontar esa carga para construir juntos el futuro.

Ante el avance del profundo malestar socio-político en la década de los ochenta, la pobreza creciente y la incapacidad de respuesta de los partidos, surge en la década de los noventa Chávez con un diálogo con los dolientes que simplifico y resumo así:

-Venezuela -dice el caudillo- es un país riquísimo con las reservas petroleras más grandes del mundo. Pero la mayoría del pueblo venezolano está abandonado en la pobreza, a pesar de que el petróleo es suyo, de la nación.

– ¿Cómo se explica esa inicua paradoja?, pregunta Chávez en campaña.

-Responde rotundamente: La coexistencia de nación riquísima y pueblo pobre está en tres poderosos bandidos que asaltan el convoy de la riqueza, impidiendo que llegue a su destino. Son el imperio depredador, la empresa privada explotadora y los partidos políticos corruptos. Yo – dice Chávez- me levanto como vengador para liberarlos de los tres, tomar el poder y distribuir la renta petrolera. Yo diré y cumpliré “Ahora PDVSA es del pueblo”. Sólo hace falta que crean en mí, me apoyen y extiendan la mano para recibir la riqueza que ya 2

existe sin que ustedes tengan que hacer un nuevo esfuerzo por producirla. En Venezuela gobernar es distribuir la fabulosa riqueza que ya existe como renta.

Con tan buena suerte para el poder de Chávez que a los pocos años el precio del barril pasó de menos de 10$ a más de 100$, incremento de ingresos que él hizo que en buena parte llegara directamente a los necesitados por medio de misiones repartidoras. Con ello el pueblo se sintió reivindicado y puesto en el centro de la política nacional.

Luego el tiempo se encargó de demostrar que una política no basada en el empoderamiento real de los débiles con creciente productividad propia y organización de base con autonomía, la distribución de dádivas, por generosa que sea, no pasa de ser un relámpago de ilusión para hoy y dolorosa oscuridad y frustración para mañana. La incapacidad gubernamental con funcionarios de lealtad partidista y escasa competencia profesional y la desbocada corrupción sin freno, son consecuencias naturales en un régimen donde prevalece la falsa idea de que nuestros bienes materiales y políticos no son escasos y por tanto no requieren ser producidos con esfuerzo ni administrados con austeridad y transparencia. El robo público no se percibe como delito mientras se nada en la abundancia.

2- Política democrática y pacto social para el bien común.

El logro del bien común exige y legitima la creación del Estado, de las instituciones y del Gobierno, respaldados por la fuerza unida de toda la población y por el cumplimiento del deber de cada ciudadano. La República no es una suma de voluntades individuales, cada una buscando su interés, sino la producción de la voluntad general enraizada en la voluntad particular de cada uno. Esa elevación del interés particular al bien común no es natural, sino un salto ético trascendental. Es el origen de la revolución democrática moderna en la que idealmente la voluntad general del pueblo y su soberanía, sustituyen a la voluntad del rey o del autócrata de turno.

El ginebrino Rousseau, como buen ilustrado, creía que esa voluntad general derivaba limpiamente de la luz de la razón, pero la realidad demuestra que la política trata del poder en pugna de intereses diversos donde cada uno trata de convertir el Estado y las instituciones del bien común en instrumentos para disfrazar e imponer el interés y la voluntad particular de personas, de grupos o de clases sociales en voluntad general como derecho a imponerse como única moral pública y desautorizar y convertir en delincuentes a todos los que se oponen a ella. Sea el rey, la nobleza, la burguesía, el proletariado o la casta militar o teocrática, su éxito está en imponer sus intereses particulares sobre el todo social y lograr el acatamiento voluntario, o, en caso extremo, el sometimiento obligado por la fuerza y la represión. La ética política inspira y exige trascender el interés particular y transformarlo en bien común. Pero es iluso pensar que para ello basta la autoproclamación salvadora. Esto fue el chavismo-maniqueismo que declaró una guerra en la que los chavistas por el mero hecho de serlo eran patriotas y los no chavistas eran traidores a la patria. Así 3

el “exprópiese “dictatorial y callejero era celebrado y ejecutado en medio de aplausos como una valiente decisión dirigida a erradicar la incidencia de la empresa privada explotadora. Todo ello disparado con dardos de elocuencia que daban en el blanco de la emoción popular. El apoyo de los generosos ingresos petroleros logró disimular durante unos años la ruina productiva y política que este proceder “populista” y los dólares permitieron suplir con importaciones la falta de producción y de inversión en las empresas estatales.

Según la elocuente prédica de Chávez Venezuela estaba dividida entre unos (los suyos) que buscan el bien del pueblo y los enemigos de éste y como tales dejan de ser sujetos de derecho y del bien común y son objeto de torturas y asesinato como vemos en estos días. Ahora está claro que el barco donde navegan unos y otros naufraga y la ética no está en el poder que divide a la sociedad, sino en el pacto social que logra sumar el esfuerzo de unos y otros. Con lo cual la tarea de reeducación es profunda y exigente. Del rechazo de unos y otros como excluyentes es indispensable pasar al “nos-otros inclusivo”. Con razón se dice que Venezuela necesita un resurgir espiritual y una profunda renovación moral; estas pasan por un redescubrimiento de los venezolanos como “nos-otros”, con la convicción y ordenamiento institucional para que el bien de unos no sea a costa del mal de los otros. Por el contrario, el bien de unos no será posible si al mismo tiempo no es bien también de los otros; en la conciencia de cada uno y de cada sector social está el reconocimiento del otro y la afirmación de su realización humana. Significa que los “ricos” lleguen a la convicción de conciencia y a la comprobación social de que a ellos no les puede ir bien si no les va bien a los “pobres” y que los 14 millones de trabajadores sepan que no les puede ir bien si decenas de miles de empresas no florecen con éxito competitivo; éxito que a su vez no es posible sin elevación del trabajador en su preparación, productividad y beneficios. La base del reencuentro está en la convicción de ambos lados de que no nos puede ir bien si a ellos les va mal.

3-Libertad, igualdad y fraternidad

La reflexión anterior nos lleva a otro gran lema, Libertad, igualdad y fraternidad, que movió los espíritus en los días de la Revolución Francesa, que luego en 1848 se convirtió en el lema oficial del Gobierno de la Segunda República francesa y en 1880 fue adoptado por la Tercera República. ¿Que hay más allá de un lema hermoso y movilizador? La búsqueda de libertad y de igualdad se concreta en constituciones democráticas, leyes e instituciones objetivas y de cumplimiento exigible a todos los ciudadanos. En la reconstrucción de Venezuela es importante activar todo lo que exija y contribuya a la libertad y la igualdad de todos los ciudadanos ante la ley y en el acceso a las oportunidades. Seamos conscientes de que venimos de un régimen que, violando la Constitución vigente, discrimina a los civiles por su simpatía o antipatía partidista para recibir beneficios y acceder a derechos fundamentales y a los militares les obliga a un juramento de lealtad partidista contrario a su deber. 4

A diferencia de la libertad e igualdad, la fraternidad es una actitud espiritual de solidaridad y de afirmación del otro que no se puede imponer por leyes externas, normas y castigos. La fraternidad hay que cultivarla en las conciencias libres de las personas que descubren su propia realización y trascendencia al afirmar gratuitamente al otro, con la convicción de que dar la vida por él no es perderla sino ganarla y que el yo se realiza en el encuentro del “nos-otros”. Nada de esto se puede imponer, ni fluye de la mera ilustración iluminista, ni de la racionalidad instrumental que revoluciona permanentemente la ciencia, la tecnología y las fuerzas productivas. Tampoco logra fraternidad el estado omnipotente como lo ha demostrado el siglo de intentos marxistas de crear desde el poder absoluto el paraíso en la tierra. Ni hay tampoco una armonía liberal preestablecida que lleva a una sociedad de millones de egos, buscando cada uno su propio interés, a producir la felicidad del conjunto. Por eso la educación en valores tiene que renacer en Venezuela tocando la tecla íntima de cada conciencia, de modo que se desea el bien del otro como el bien propio y el bien común como la máxima realización para sí y para los demás. Nacer a la ciudadanía significa fortalecer leyes e instituciones exigibles y al mismo tiempo cultivar la libre conciencia y voluntad solidaria que afirma al otro como hermano y no como el lobo amenazante. El arte espiritual de convertirnos de lobos en hermanos es vital para que la libertad y la igualdad florezcan en Venezuela. A veces las grandes catástrofes como la que vivimos se convierten en sacudidas sociales que despiertan lo mejor de las personas para el esfuerzo común centrado en el reencuentro y en la reconstrucción.

America stands with Venezuelans. The UN must do the same – Discurso Mike Pence – 11 de Abril 2019

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Yesterday, Vice President Mike Pence traveled to New York City to represent President Donald J. Trump and the United States before a Special Session of the United Nations Security Council on the crisis in Venezuela.

“For six long years, the people of Venezuela have suffered under the heavy hand of oppression,” the Vice President told the Security Council. “The United Nations and this Security Council have refused to act.”
🎬 Watch: Vice President Pence calls out Maduro’s “Ambassador” 

America’s message was clear: “This body should revoke the credentials of Venezuela’s representative to the United Nations, recognize Interim President Juan Guaido, and seat the representative of the free Venezuelan government in this body without delay,” Vice President Pence continued.

Maduro’s socialist dictatorship has turned Venezuela, once one of the wealthiest countries in the Western Hemisphere, into a tragic scene of deprivation. The economy has shrunk by nearly half, leaving 9 out of 10 Venezuelans in poverty. The average citizen there has lost more than 20 pounds from malnutrition, including thousands of children who continue to face starvation.

In the midst of this suffering, Maduro has lent no helping hand—just the opposite. When America and its allies sent crucial aid to Venezuela’s people, Maduro’s henchmen blocked and literally burned it, committing violence against any who opposed them. In just 3 months, the regime has thrown more than 1,200 people in jail without due process. At least 40 protesters have been killed.

“There can be no bystanders to this history,” Vice President Pence warned. “For the peace and security of our hemisphere, the world and the United Nations must stand with the people of Venezuela.”

With that, the Vice President turned to Maduro’s representative before the Security Council. “With all due respect, Mr. Ambassador, you shouldn’t be here. You should return to Venezuela and tell Nicolas Maduro that his time is up. It’s time for him to go.”

Briefing to the Security Council on the humanitarian situation in Venezuela by Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock New York – 10 April 2019

Thank you very much, Mr. President.

Let me be clear from the outset that there is a very real humanitarian problem in Venezuela. The United Nations is willing and able to respond, consistent with the long standing mandate member states have agreed for principled humanitarian action.

We can do more to relieve the suffering of the people of Venezuela, if we get more help and support from all stakeholders.

Since Under-Secretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo last briefed you on 26 February, the humanitarian situation has worsened. Recurrent widespread power outages have affected the whole country. Without electricity from the grid, many hospitals have struggled to carry out essential surgical procedures, and to sustain intensive-care services and dialysis treatment. Water and sewage systems have been interrupted. Economic decline has continued and the purchasing power of ordinary people has fallen further, rendering food even less affordable for many families.

The scale of need is significant and growing. The United Nations is working in Venezuela to expand the provision of humanitarian assistance. Our efforts are in line with the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence, as determined by the General Assembly in Resolutions 46/182 and 58/114.

The Secretary-General has expressed his concern for the people in Venezuela. I echo that concern. I will focus my briefing today on:

• First, the priority humanitarian needs in Venezuela,

• Second, our efforts to assist the most vulnerable people, and

• Third, the areas where we seek your collective support.

Mr. President,

We recently produced a draft overview report on priority humanitarian needs in Venezuela. The review was based on the best available data from all available official and unofficial sources, including Government data. We gave our draft report to the Government and the National Assembly on 27 March.

We estimate that seven million people in Venezuela need humanitarian assistance. That is some 25 per cent of the population. There are people in need throughout the country, but needs are most severe in the three states in the south and the Zulia and Lara states in the west.

People with chronic health conditions, pregnant and nursing women, children under five, indigenous people, people on the move, and those living with disabilities are among the most vulnerable.

Mr. President,

The context is a severe and continuing economic contraction, with associated dramatic increases in inflation, on a scale seen in few if any other countries around the world in recent years. Our review found that access to nutrient-rich foods and a varied diet has diminished. Historically, Venezuela has imported up to 75 per cent of its food. As a result of the crisis, the availability and affordability of food has fallen, with lower imports, reduced local production and declining purchasing power. Many people depend on subsidized food to meet their needs. Six million families across the country reportedly benefit from food supplies distributed by the Government.

Despite this, malnutrition has increased, especially in areas with the highest poverty rates. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization has estimated that in 2018, some 3.7 million people suffered from undernourishment. The prevalence of undernourishment has almost trebled over a five-year period. Other aid organizations report an increase in the global acute malnutrition rate among children under five. We estimate that 1.9 million people require nutritional assistance, including 1.3 million children under five. More data is needed to improve our understanding of the nutrition and food security situation.

The Venezuelan health system is strained by shortages in personnel, medical supplies, equipment and electricity. Reduced access to medicines has increased the risk of morbidity and mortality from diabetes, hypertension, cancer and HIV/AIDS. Preventable diseases like tuberculosis, diphtheria, measles and malaria have resurfaced. The World Health Organization registered more than 400,000 cases of malaria in 2017, nearly 70 per cent more than the year before. That was the largest increase in the world that year. Overall, we estimate some 2.8 million people need health assistance, including 1.1 million children under five.

Health problems are exacerbated by insufficient access to clean water and inadequate sanitation systems. One estimate suggests that 17 per cent of people living in poverty have no access to safe water, or receive it only once a fortnight. Recent power outages are making this problem worse. Some families have resorted to using water from unclean sources, because they cannot afford safe water. Sanitation systems have deteriorated, affecting solid waste management, among other services. Basic hygiene needs like hand washing are undermined by the unavailability or unaffordability of water and cleaning supplies. We estimate that some 4.3 million people require water and sanitation assistance.

The crisis has interrupted the education of more than 1 million children. Many families cannot afford the transportation, clothing or shoes children need to go to school. The population on the move is at particular risk of protection violations, as are women and girls who compose 72 per cent of trafficking victims. More than 3.4 million people have already left the country. We estimate that some 2.7 million people still inside Venezuela require protection assistance and services.

Mr. President,

Let me now move on to how we are assisting the most vulnerable people.

The United Nations and other humanitarian organizations are on the ground, and we have been expanding our operations. Since 2017, the number of UN staff has increased from 210 to nearly 400. UN agencies are working in all 24 states. Our efforts are particularly concentrated in the vulnerable border states of Zulia, Táchira and Bolivar.

To support the expansion of humanitarian assistance, I released $9 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund in late 2018.

Through this grant, as well as bilateral funding from donors, the UN has:

• Provided 189,000 children with preventive and curative treatment for acute malnutrition.

• Expanded maternal and child health through the provision of medicines and supplies from 74,000 health kits.

• Donated 10 generators to provide emergency power to hospitals.

• Installed water tanks in hospitals to ensure a safe supply of water for pediatric and maternal services.

• Distributed 10 million tablets for the treatment of HIV among 50,000 people across all 24 States.

• Delivered 176,000 doses of vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella for babies and young children.

The UN and other aid organizations are working with institutions and organizations across the spectrum, including line ministries, and national civil society organizations, and we are in touch with the National Assembly.

Under the leadership of the UN’s Resident Coordinator, we recently established a Cooperation and Assistance Coordination Team bringing together UN agencies, the Red Cross and NGOs in Caracas to provide strategic-level guidance and coordination to the humanitarian operation.

Mr. President,

It is clear that much more is needed. We seek the support of this Council for action in three areas: First, improved respect for principled humanitarian action. In Venezuela, there is a need to separate political and humanitarian objectives. Humanitarian assistance must be delivered on the basis of need alone. The Secretary-General has repeatedly stressed the importance of the humanitarian principles and has called on Member States and others to respect them. We seek the Council’s support to safeguard the neutral and impartial nature of humanitarian action.

Second, an enabling operating environment, including sustained and regular access to people in need. I note recent steps taken by the Government of Venezuela to facilitate the entrance of additional UN staff into the country and the expansion of humanitarian programmes, including those of the Red Cross movement. Additional steps are needed. We need more humanitarian organizations with the capacity to meet urgent needs to establish a presence and assist with operations in the country. We also need more data and information to ensure our understanding of needs evolves with the situation.

Third, more money to support the expansion of humanitarian programmes. The resources available now are extremely modest in relation to the needs we see. I would like to thank Member States who have contributed to the provision of humanitarian assistance in Venezuela, including our generous donors supporting the CERF. Your continued support is critical. But we need a lot more.

Thank you very much, Mr. President.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

To learn more about OCHA’s activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.

Palabras del padre Luis Ugalde en el Congreso Venezuela Libre – 26 de Noviembre 2018

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Estoy emocionado al vivir en estos días el Congreso Venezuela Libre en todos los 24 estados del país y ahora en esta hermosa aula magna de la emblemática UCV que vence las sombras y no se rinde a la tiranía. Permítanme compartirles con cuatro breves palabras mi emocionada esperanza.

1- Verano y Samán
Durante 25 años desde 1970 fui asesor en Apure de la escuela granja de Fe y Alegría de La Guanota. En mis frecuentes viajes de Caracas a San Fernando en los meses de febrero-marzo y hasta la entrada de lluvias, me parecía desoladora la inmensa llanura prendida en incendios y humaredas, con el ganado famélico y muriéndose por falta de agua y alimento. Así luce hoy a primera vista Venezuela: un paisaje desolador y sin esperanza. En aquellos desiertos resecos de pronto me sorprendían unas manchas verdes con ganado refugiado a su sombra: Soberbios samanes que – gracias a la profundidad de sus raíces – resistían la sequía y generosos acogían a su sombra al ganado y lo alimentaban con su semilla rica en proteínas. ¿Cuál era el secreto de esos samanes cuando todo parecía morir? ¿Cómo se mantenían verdes y majestuosos abriendo sus brazos con sombra y comida? ¿Cuál es el secreto del samán para vencer al verano? Es su raíz profunda hasta conectar con el agua subterránea y así mantenerse vivo.
En el terrible verano, preñado de desolación y de muerte que vive hoy Venezuela, vemos en miles de lugares de nuestra amplia geografía numerosos puntos verdes que se resisten a morir y abren sus brazos de esperanza. Ustedes son sus mensajeros que vienen a decir a Venezuela que no todo está muerto y que ya se acerca la entrada de lluvias. Cada uno de ustedes y sus organizaciones, gracias a sus profundas raíces, han resistido y vienen al encuentro de otros testigos de la esperanza.

2- El Desierto Reverdece
Cuando parece que todo muere de sed, arde de desolación y nos hace pensar que nunca más reverdecerá, con las primeras lluvias se produce el milagro y descubrimos que las raíces no estaban muertas sino ocultas. De pronto la pradera brota, el desierto reverdece, la alegría renace en el hombre del campo y en el canto de los pájaros, el ganado celebra la vida y el trabajador vuelve cantando a soñar y a preparar la tierra para que la vida florezca y la cosecha sea generosa. Descubrimos que las raíces estaban ocultas pero vivas. La desolación y la muerte se transforman en esperanza y vida por el prodigio del desierto convertido en vergel. La lluvia es generosa y común para árboles, hierbas y ganado, pero no los uniforma, sino que cada uno revive con su identidad propia. La lluvia común se transforma en vida diversa. Así es el Congreso de Venezuela Libre.

3- Nacer de Nuevo
En 1902 en la Rusia zarista, el país más atrasado de Europa, con gran parte de su población en régimen de semi-esclavitud campesina Lenin se preguntó en su libro Que Hacer para liberarla. Qué hacer es la pregunta de los pueblos en tiempos de grave dificultad y de perplejidad. Que hacer es hoy la pregunta de cada uno de nosotros y de todos juntos. Hace 2.000 años un sabio judío Nicodemo lleno de inquietud y de búsqueda fue de noche a visitar al Maestro de Nazaret con la misma pregunta Qué hacer. Jesús le sorprendió con su respuesta: hay que nacer de nuevo. Nacer de nuevo en Espíritu y en Verdad.
De la misma manera hoy esta Venezuela de muerte está con dolores de parto y necesita nacer de nuevo: la política, la economía, la sociedad, el alma de Venezuela, necesitamos nacer de nuevo. No se trata de pequeños cambios superficiales, sino de renacer profundo, en Espíritu y en Verdad, dejando atrás lamentables prácticas políticas del pasado y del presente. Realmente el renacer ciudadano será nuevo y nos hará libres, si mi verdad sin sectarismos va abierta al encuentro de tu verdad, de la verdad del otro, para llegar juntos tú y yo a nuestra verdad.

4- Verdad que nos hará libres
Hoy en este magnífico y rebosante escenario de la UCV se encuentran y se complementan verdades diversas, que incluso a veces vienen de negarse mutuamente. Pero ahora se encuentran en un solo abrazo de la verdad de la Venezuela libre y plural, la verdad de NOSOTROS.

En ese abrazo de vida y esperanza, juntos queremos proclamar tres cosas:
1) Basta ya de la ruina y hundimiento del país, con millones de venezolanos huyendo en busca de vida en otros países, y muchos millones más sobreviviendo en depresión y resignados a la agonía.
2) Todos unidos en el rescate de la Constitución democrática cínicamente violada y ahora amenazada de muerte por un poder que descaradamente se proclama supra-constitucional y decidido a perpetuar su dominio tiránico y desolador.
3) Todos con la mirada y las acciones puestas en el necesario y constitucional cambio de gobierno el 10 de enero de 2019. El cambio vendrá, no porque la dictadura lo facilite, sino porque la movilización de Venezuela entera que quiere renacer y recuperar la vida se hará indetenible, con unidad en la diversidad, y la libertad reverdecerá con pluralidad democrática productiva y creadora. Estamos en la entrada de lluvias y nos apresuramos a preparar la tierra, pues descubrimos que los samanes no están muertos y que la hierba de la pradera logró salvar sus raíces del fuego para volver a sonreír al primer beso de la lluvia generosa.

Hoy ustedes, este Congreso Nacional de Venezuela Libre, entrelazados en los 24 estados y empeñados en una unidad superior, ustedes traen las primeras lluvias de alegría y de esperanza. Unidad superior que, con la bendición de Dios y nuestro esfuerzo responsable, logrará que todos nos pongamos en marcha hacia una pronta Venezuela libre, democrática y próspera.

Speech by HR/VP Federica Mogherini on the situation in Venezuela – 23 de Octubre 2018

Speech by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini at the European Parliament plenary session on the situation in Venezuela

Thank you very much Madame Chair,
We regularly discuss the situation in Venezuela and I can start by saying that we see further deterioration of the situation now and a further polarisation of the political scene. Tensions continue to rise. The social and economic conditions are clearly worsening – quite dramatically – and against this background, over two million Venezuelans have decided to leave the country.
We often refer to a migratory crisis towards Europe, I would invite you to look at these numbers. There are two million Venezuelans fleeing – in Colombia, Brazil, also in Ecuador, Peru and the Caribbean. Among these people, some are European citizens.
Here we have a reverse situation, because as you might know, nearly one million EU nationals have dual citizenship; there are also people of European descent that live in Venezuela, although many of them have already left the country.
Even if an ocean geographically divides us, we Europeans could not stand on the sidelines of this crisis. It concerns us, just because of these numbers of how many EU nations are also Venezuelan nationals; not to mention the social, economic and cultural ties that exist between Europe and Venezuela.
Our response, so far, has been both humanitarian and political. On the humanitarian side, we are currently mobilising €35 million in assistance to Venezuelans both inside and outside the country. We are investing in health assistance, food and water sanitation. We are working to support the socio-economic inclusion of Venezuelans, and to help the local economy of the host communities in the neighbouring countries.
Half of the package of these €35 million is already being implemented, in quite a record time, and the remaining will be made operational by early next year. We are also exploring the possibilities to further increase the European Commission’s financial support, beyond this already very significant contribution.
We have welcomed the appointment of Eduardo Stein as Joint Special Representative of the UNHCR [UN Refugees Agency] and the IOM [International Organisation for Migration] for Venezuelan refugees and migrants. We had, with the Foreign Ministers of the 28 Member States, the opportunity to discuss also about the Venezuelan migratory crisis, Monday last week, in Luxembourg, during the Foreign Affairs Council, expressing our support to both [Filippo] Grandi [Director General of the UN Refugees Agency] and [António Manuel de Carvalho Ferreira] Vitorino [Director General of the International Organisation for Migration] for this work that we want to be a joint work. 
We stand ready to support any further coordinated action, both at regional and international level, to address more effectively this humanitarian crisis. 
But the only possible solution to this crisis is political. Last week, again, I discussed with the Foreign Affairs Council, we discussed what the European Union can do more to prevent a further deterioration of the situation, or help change the course of this negative development.
Ministers from all 28 Member States have confirmed that, first of all, any sustainable political solution to the Venezuelan crisis has to be democratic and peaceful – I think these are the two pillars that guide our action. An external intervention or any use of force would be simply unacceptable to us, and would make things much worse.
Our immediate request to the government of Venezuela is that it takes unilateral confidence-building steps to ease tensions. It should first and foremost restore the full constitutional powers of the National Assembly and respect the immunity of its members; release all political prisoners and take concrete steps to restore political pluralism and to guarantee the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
We expect in particular a full, independent and impartial investigation on the circumstances of councillor Albán’s death. It is the duty of the State to ensure the safety and physical integrity of all people in its custody.
And finally, we ask the government to allow free, credible and transparent elections in full respect of the Constitution.
On all these points, we have not changed our mind. You have heard them and you have actually said this yourself several times. These requests stay on the table from our side and we do not intend to change our mind on these starting points. Because the people of Venezuela are simply asking for democracy.
And this crisis will end only with the political process leading in that direction. This is very clear to us Europeans. In response to the violations of human rights in Venezuela and to the ongoing attack on democratic institutions, one year ago we decided to impose targeted restricted measure on a number of individuals who are responsible for the current situation.
This is the first time we impose this kind of measures in Latin American, and you can imagine that we did not take this decision lightly. We took it because of the deteriorating situation, but also as a message to the authorities of Venezuela with which we are keeping an open channel of dialogue – to engage seriously towards a negotiated solution to the current crisis.
Today, the situation has not improved at all – on the contrary. So, we stick to our decision, and the restrictive measures will stay as long as human rights are violated and democratic principles are disregarded. We do not intend to soften our position in the lack of substantive progress on the ground.
At the Foreign Affairs Council last week, we started with the [Foreign Affairs] Ministers a discussion on what else we can do, next to these positions, next to the decision on the sanctions that is staying. What else can we do, as European Union, as Member States, to end the downwards spiral and to help the start of some kind of political process. Because the absence of a political process itself might lead to a further deterioration of the situation.
We will explore, first of all together with Latin American countries, the possibility of establishing a Contact Group – with relevant and interested countries – not only from the region – and international players. We do not think that – at this point in time – a mediation or a dialogue would have any chance to succeed. I want to be very clear on that. It is not an issue about buying time – no way. The conditions for either a dialogue or a mediation are not ripe, are not there.
But an international initiative – a European initiative together with others could – with plenty of question marks – help build the conditions that would eventually lead to relaunching a political process. For the moment, this is just a possibility we are exploring, I do not want to raise expectations. We are simply worried about the absence of a political process and personally, I do not want to be in the situation, in six months, one year from now, to look back and say: could we not have done more on the political side to avoid the situation to deteriorate even further?
Again, we are not raising expectations, not launching any initiative today, but we are simply exploring if there are the conditions to put something in place that could help creating the conditions for something to happen in the future. We should try – I believe – any peaceful option to end the current stalemate and prevent a violent escalation.
Because if the situation does not improve – and we do not see the situation improving –  an escalation of violence cannot be excluded – and this would mean even greater suffering for the people of Venezuela. And this is an option we have to exclude and we have to prevent. We do not want to impose any outside, outsourced solution; this has never been the European approach. We believe in democracy; we believe in ownership, we believe in cooperation and we believe in respect.
We believe the future – and also the present – of Venezuela must be written by its people, and by no one else, without any external intervention. But we will do everything we can to help the Venezuelan people take the future and the present of their country back in their hands. I am looking forward to listen to your views. Thank you.

Opening Statement by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet – 10 de Septiembre 2018

 

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39th session of the Human Rights Council

10 September 2018

Distinguished President,
Director-General of the UN Office in Geneva,
Excellencies,
Colleagues and friends,

It is an honour to be called to this mandate, to assist States to uphold the human rights of their people, in this year in which we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Universal Declaration is a commitment to values and policies that have delivered tremendous benefit to millions of people. This Council, my Office, and every Member State of the United Nations must continue to push forward with that work. The future of our world depends upon it.

I want to acknowledge the courage and the achievements of my predecessor, High Commissioner Zeid. His activism, humanity and formidable intelligence have advanced the cause of human rights, and brought great access and impact to our Office. He truly became the spokesman for those who are voiceless: the victims of human rights violations.

Their needs and rights should always be the central focus of our work. Human rights express the core purpose of the United Nations: we can only attain peace, security and sustainable development for all societies when we advance the dignity and equality of all human beings. In the course of my work, I fully intend to honour both the spirit and the practises established by my predecessors.

I bring to this mandate my experience in public service and my lifelong dedication to reversing hatred and ensuring equality and respect for all.

I have been a political detainee and the daughter of political detainees. I have been a refugee and a physician – including for children who experienced torture, and the enforced disappearance of their parents. I have headed a United Nations body, and I have been honoured to lead my country, twice, as its President.

This is the eve of the day on which we Chileans mark the memory of the coup d’état, 45 years ago, and the ensuing years of brutal oppression and bloodshed. My country has known the pain and terror of tyranny. But I am proud to say we have been able to surmount divisions and meet vast challenges – shaping institutions which enable greater participation, and greater freedom, justice and dignity, for our people.

And so I bring to the cause of human rights the diversity of cultures that have nourished my approach to public service. I bring my commitment to bridging the differences between communities, and promoting respect, well-being and freedom.

I bring my fundamental attachment to the courage, the dignity and selflessness of all defenders and activists for human rights.

I bring my absolute conviction that cooperation between all actors, through multilateral institutions, can solve the complex challenges that face the world, and that by working to uphold human rights, my Office – like this Council – can ensure more just and respectful societies, living together in sustainable development and security.

Good governance is based on identifying and amending gaps in access to justice, dignity and equality – so that all can live in more respectful and harmonious societies, and enjoy development that is more dynamic and sustainable.

Good doctoring is based on building resilience: strengthening healing processes and intervening to interrupt symptoms of pathology.

And human rights are a powerful medicine, which heals wounds and develops resilience.

Excellencies,

Political differences may divide some of the countries in this room. But upholding human rights is in the interest of every State. Your peoples seek a common agenda: rights, sustainable development and peace.

We can only progress towards that vision together. If we undermine multilateral institutions such as this one, we will fail to meet the challenges our people face.

I have deeply admired much of the work done by this Council, with its mechanisms and experts. The Universal Periodic Review ensures ground-breaking scrutiny of the human rights record of every State in the world. The inquiries led by the Council’s fact-finding expert missions and Special Procedures have uncovered essential facts which must be addressed, and have pointed to recommendations that it is essential to apply.

Your expanding agenda and increased workload are not only a testament to the world’s failures to uphold human rights; they are also a mark of your importance.

I am convinced that this Council must strive for consensus. I believe there should be more engagement by all Member States – not sterile disputes; not withdrawals; but collective, coordinated and cooperative work to sustain core principles and common goals.

Kofi Annan, for whom I had the deepest respect, often pointed out that in our complex, globalised world, “no country, no matter how powerful or wealthy” can hope to solve the issues which face States. I quote, “Governments have to show the courage and vision to look beyond themselves to find solutions, and put in place new frameworks and rules”.

The most effective solutions are grounded in principle and in openness, in collective agreements and coordinated actions.

And I know that consensus is possible.

I know that military leaders can commit to ending military intervention in democratic politics, and work to reconcile with the victims of oppression.

I know that centuries of prejudice and discrimination – against women, against the peoples of the Global South and many other discriminated and exploited groups – can be pushed back. This is work that has advanced in the past, and must move forward today.

Excellencies,

It is States which have the primary responsibility for upholding the rights of their people. I will always listen to the concerns of Governments. As a former Head of Government and Head of State, I have shared some of these concerns and faced some of the same challenges.

But above all, I will advocate for the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights that are the inherent entitlements of all people. I will strive to be their voice and their strong defender, in complete objectivity, without fear or favour, and to urge all States to protect and promote all human rights, without distinction.

This Council, too, has the responsibility to speak out against every instance of human rights violations, regardless of sex, gender identity, race or ethnicity, religion, disability or migration status, or other characteristic. Irrespective of the type of political regime in a given country, the Human Rights Council has the duty to advocate and to assist transformative improvements in upholding all rights.

These rights extend from the frontiers of the digital universe to the abject poverty of the rooms where mothers die in childbirth, because insufficient resources are allocated for their care.

They include the prevention of conflicts, so often grounded in discrimination, inequality and injustice.

They include protection from and mitigation of the effects of climate change; work to uphold the rights of children, rights to health and to fundamental services; and measures which enable development by upholding the people’s right to freely participate in making decisions on all matters that affect them.

We cannot pick and choose from among our people’s inalienable rights. They build on each other.

Measures to promote equality drive powerful, sustainable economic development to which every member of society can fully contribute.

Access to the best quality education, and to economic and social rights, helps diminish despair, mistrust and violent extremism.

It is by building access to all human rights that society becomes stronger and more able to resist unpredictable shocks.

And although there may be legitimate divergences regarding the best ways of achieving these transformations, the principles which anchor them remain absolutely clear and invariable.

Mr President,

We stand on a sound foundation. Much work has already been accomplished – by my Office, including by its 72 field presences around the world; by this Council and its mechanisms; by the Treaty Body Committees; and by the civil society activists represented in this room and those across the world.

I hope to reinforce our common understanding. We can surpass national borders. We can promote more multilateralism, more cooperation, more dialogue, more consensus and more coordinated action.

We can build new strategies and stronger tools for prevention, early intervention and also accountability. I firmly believe that the power of justice can deter and prevent even the worst violations and crimes.

We can – we must – push forward with the implementation of States’ commitments. Norms and laws are vital, but they must be applied. I am convinced that by building up national institutions, we can ensure powerful constituencies for rights, which can contribute to making rights real.

Excellencies,

This is a time of many setbacks for human rights. But it is also one of great opportunity.

We stand on a strong, vital and living body of law and norms, which reflect the universal values that bind humanity. The Covenants, the seven other core human rights treaties, and the recommendations of all UN human rights bodies and experts, are fundamental contributions to the work of preventing, mitigating and ending human rights violations – including the inequalities and discriminations which torment so many of our fellow human beings.

The voice of the Office of the High Commissioner is powerful in its authority, legitimacy and objectivity. And it is far from the only voice that is raised in support of rights.

The new reforms underway at the United Nations present an opportunity to advocate, as powerfully as we can, that a human rights approach be at the centre of the work of our UN partners.

The recommendations of the Treaty Bodies, and the Council’s Special Procedures and Universal Periodic Review, are increasingly integrated into coordinated tools, to enable better adoption by States, UN Country Teams and other actors.

In humanitarian operations, the UN is adopting the “New Way of Working” which seeks to join up development, humanitarian and human rights approaches to these difficult situations.

The 2030 Agenda makes the direct road from discrimination to inequality and under-development absolutely clear. It opens a tremendous opportunity for greater integration of human rights goals, including the recommendations of the human rights mechanisms, into national policies and the work of the UN.

The Sustainable Development Goals will not progress without discussion of and progress on the so-called “sensitive” issues of human rights. I know this as a former Head of State and Head of Government: development must focus, above all, on the well-being and rights of the people.

The Global Compact for Migration, which is due to be adopted in December, offers hope for better and more effective governance of migration. It is a balanced human rights document with achievable, detailed policies to reduce the vulnerability of many of the world’s 258 million migrants – and minimize the human rights violations which so often drive their flight.

Historically, people have always moved in search of hope and opportunities. Erecting walls; deliberately projecting fear and anger on migrant communities; denying migrants fundamental rights by limiting their right to appeal, curtailing their right to non-refoulement, separating and detaining families, and cutting integration programmes: such policies offer no long-term solutions to anyone – only more hostility, misery, suffering and chaos.

It is in the interest of every State to adopt migration policies that are grounded in reality, not in panic; which provide opportunities for safe, regular movement instead of forcing people to take lethal risks.

Among the major strengths of both the 2030 Agenda and the Global Compact is that they are commitments by States to work together – and change, together.

Mr President,

As this Council session begins, the rapidly growing numbers of people fleeing both Venezuela andNicaragua once again demonstrate the need to constantly uphold human rights. Yes, it is urgent to help receiving States to solve the many challenges raised by such movements. But it is also fundamental to address the reasons why people are leaving. In both these countries, the Office urges the Human Rights Council to take all available measures to address the serious human rights violations which have been documented in recent reports.

Regarding Venezuela, an estimated 2.3 million people had fled the country by 1 July – roughly 7 per cent of the total population – due largely to lack of food or access to critical medicines and health care, insecurity and political persecution. This movement is accelerating. In the first week of August, more than 4,000 Venezuelans per day entered Ecuador; 50,000 Venezuelans reportedly arrived in Colombia over a three week period in July; and 800 Venezuelans per day are now reported to be entering Brazil. Cross-border movement of this magnitude is unprecedented in the recent history of the Americas, and the vulnerability of those who leave has also increased: elderly people; pregnant women; children, including unaccompanied minors; and persons with health problems are crossing the border in increasing numbers.

Since publication of our latest report on Venezuela, in June, the Office has continued to receive information on violations of social and economic rights – such as cases of deaths related to malnutrition or preventable diseases – as well as on violations of civil and political rights, including arbitrary detentions, ill-treatment and restrictions to freedom of expression. The Government has not shown openness for genuine accountability measures regarding issues documented by the Office during the 2017 mass protests.

The number of people fleeing Nicaragua is also increasing exponentially, as a result of the ongoing crisis in the country, including the deterioration of human rights. Two weeks ago, the Office released a report documenting disproportionate use of force by the police; extrajudicial killings; enforced disappearances; widespread arbitrary or illegal detentions; widespread ill-treatment, and instances of torture and sexual violence, in detention centres; obstructions to medical care; and violations of freedoms of peaceful assembly and expression, such as the criminalization of human rights defenders, journalists and protestors considered critical of the Government. Some 400 people have been killed and at least 2000 injured. We regret the government’s decision last week to expel our team, and call on the Council to strengthen its oversight on the country. In the meantime the Office will continue documenting human rights violations in Nicaragua from outside the country.

In such circumstances, the Global Compact provides for regional and international cooperation to set up prompt, humane reception of all people arriving at their borders, with respect for their human rights; and to develop mechanisms for admission and stay based on the need for human rights protection.The Office is eager to assist States to realise these commitments by building national capacity – including, for example, by training border guards and law enforcement personnel who work in border areas to uphold and respect the human rights of all, and by providing practical guidance for national implementation plans, based on our monitoring and assessment.

The decision by the United States and Hungary to refuse to sign the Compact is deeply regrettable.Australia, a member of this Council that has suggested it might withdraw, should join the consensus of the global community, adopt the Compact and revise the country’s policies with respect to people arriving at its borders without a visa. The current offshore processing centres are an affront to the protection of human rights.

In June, the Government of Hungary adopted additional measures to enable the authorities to arrest, criminally charge and immediately remove from Hungary’s border area any lawyer, adviser, volunteer or legally resident family member suspected of helping a person to make an asylum claim, obtain a residence permit, or take other perfectly legal actions. We are also aware of shocking reports that in recent weeks, food has been withheld from migrants held in transit zones on the Hungarian-Serbian border.

The United States has halted the unconscionable practice of separating immigrant children from their families. But the authorities have still not taken measures to provide redress for the families whom it has victimised; and over 500 migrant children taken away from their parents by US officials have still not been returned to their families. Of further concern is the announcement last week that the government would no longer abide by a court settlement limiting detention of children to 20 days.

The European Union should be encouraged to establish a dedicated humanitarian search and rescue operation for people crossing the Mediterranean, and to ensure that access to asylum and to human rights protection in the EU is guaranteed. The Government of Italy has been denying entry to NGO rescue ships. This kind of political posturing and other recent developments have devastating consequences for many already vulnerable people. Although the number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean has fallen, the fatality rate for those making this treacherous crossing has in the first six months of this year been even higher than previously.

Prioritising the return of migrants from Europe, without ensuring that key international human rights obligations are upheld, cannot be considered a protection response. The Office expects to dispatch a team to Austria to assess recent developments in this area. We also intend to send staff to Italy, to assess the reported sharp increase in acts of violence and racism against migrants, persons of African descent and Roma. The shocking recent outbreak in Germany of anti-migrant violence, which appears to have been stoked by xenophobic hate speech, is worrying. The EU Commission’s recent acknowledgment that Libya is not a safe place for return is welcome. Migrants in Libya continue to be exposed to unlawful killings, deprivation of liberty, torture, sexual violence, forced labour, extortion and exploitation by both State and non-State actors, in total impunity, and it is unworthy of any State to deliberately send men, women and children to face such risks. The Council will be briefed on the human rights situation in Libya later in the session.

In the context of the EU’s ongoing discussions to establish so-called “regional disembarkation platforms”, the prospect of the EU outsourcing its responsibility to govern migration to States with weak protection systems is disturbing. Without prejudice to the ongoing discussions, the authorities should recall that respect for the rights of all migrants must be assured, including those in the most vulnerable situations, and processes must be established to ensure that relevant actors be held to account if they fail to meet basic international standards.

Above all, States should adopt a more thoughtful approach, and seek constructive, long-term, sustainable solutions. Governments should focus on expanding regular channels and pathways for movement. The economic argument is clear: migration powerfully contributes to economic growth and other social and cultural aspects of development. An aging population and low birth-rates make those contributions essential.

Mr President,

This Council session will be apprised of the deeply shocking findings of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar. The Mission has determined that many of the gross human rights violations, and serious violations of international humanitarian law, in Kachin, Shan and Rakhine states amount to the gravest crimes under international law. In addition to crimes against humanity and war crimes – reported to have been committed in all three states – there is strong evidence indicating genocide, extermination and deportation of the Rohingya. It is shocking that journalists involved in documenting some of the massacres which occurred have been prosecuted, and now given a harsh sentence. They should be immediately released. Attacks and persecution appear to be continuing in Rakhine: at least 12,000 new Rohingya refugees have fled to Bangladesh so far this year. In Kachin and Shan States, the Fact Finding Mission found indications of extrajudicial execution and unlawful killings, torture and other forms of ill-treatment, including against children ; sexual violence; arbitrary arrests; and forced labour. The persistence of these patterns of violations underscores the total impunity accorded to the Myanmar security forces.

I emphasise the imperative of justice for Myanmar. I welcome the Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court’s finding that the Court has jurisdiction over the alleged deportation of Rohingya from Myanmar, and possibly other crimes. This is an immensely important step towards ending impunity, and addressing the enormous suffering of the Rohingya people.I also welcome efforts by Member States at this Council to establish an independent international mechanism for Myanmar, to collect, consolidate, preserve and analyse evidence of the most serious international crimes, in order to expedite fair and independent trials in national and international courts.This mechanism would also complement and support the preliminary examination of the ICC Prosecutor.I urge the Council to pass a resolution, and refer the matter to the General Assembly for its endorsement, so that such a mechanism can be established.

In Bangladesh – a country to be commended for hosting so many refugees and for its success in poverty reduction – student protestors and media professionals have in recent months been attacked, arrested, charged with defamation and, reportedly, ill-treated. The perpetrators of this violence must be held accountable to prevent recurrence. The Government should do more to ensure freedom of expression, which is indispensable for free and fair elections. Troubling reports also indicate that an anti-narcotics drive has led to over 220 killings, and thousands of arrests, with allegations of extrajudicial executions.

Drug issues everywhere are best tackled through a focus on health, education and opportunities – not the death penalty, or death squads. The Office has submitted a report to this session on more effective, and human rights compliant, measures to address narcotics issues.

In Cambodia, commendable advances with respect to poverty reduction, the minimum wage, basic social protections and non-discrimination contrast with the severe deterioration of civil and political rights, which is a substantial threat to such progress. The recent elections were held amid crackdowns on dissent and independent media, and the dissolution of the former main opposition party deprived many people of their choice of representation. I welcome the releases, over the past month, of a prominent human rights defender, two journalists, and several opposition members, including Kem Sokha, headof the dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party. But the Government should also release, and drop charges against, all other political actors, journalists and ordinary citizens arrested or convicted for exercising their human rights. Sustainable development requires the authorities to protect and expand the space for civil society, including NGOs, the media and political opponents, in an environment of dialogue that allows all Cambodians to have a voice – including those who may be critical of government decisions.

In India, I hail last week’s decision by the Supreme Court to decriminalise same-sex relations. Laws thatcriminaliseconsensual adult relationships are, as Chief Justice Misra said,manifestly arbitrary and a source of discrimination and harassment. I very much hope other countries around the world will look to India’s example in this respect.

In Kashmir, our recent report on the human rights situation has not been followed up with meaningful improvements, or even open and serious discussions on how the grave issues raised could be addressed. The people of Kashmir have exactly the same rights to justice and dignity as people all over the world, and we urge the authorities to respect them. The Office continues to request permission to visit both sides of the Line of Control, and in the meantime, will continue its monitoring and reporting.

In Afghanistan, the Office is documenting record levels of civilian casualties. The number of civilians killed in conflict-related violence during the first half of 2018 was the highest six-month toll since we began our systematic documentation in 2009. Since then there has been a Taliban offensive on Ghazni in mid-August, and targeted attacks on the Shi’a community. We urge all parties to comply with international humanitarian and human rights law, and to show more courage and creativity in breaking away from decades of war and violence.

The rapprochement unfolding on the Korean peninsula is a historic opportunity to address, from the outset, the severe and longstanding human rights violations in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Discussion of the rights of millions of people cannot be postponed for the sake of convenience or other factors. Regarding the Council’s resolution 34/24, work is underway to monitor and document violations committed in the DPRK, in order to establish a central repository of cases and develop possible strategies for future accountability. The Council will receive a report on this work in March.

China’s review last month by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination brought to light deeply disturbing allegations of large-scale arbitrary detentions of Uighurs and other Muslim communities, in so called re-education camps across Xinjiang. CERD’s concluding observations corroborate other reports we have received. Reports have also been received of patterns of human rights violations in other regions. In light of these reports, we would request the Government to permit access for the Office to all regions of China, and trust we will embark on discussion of these issues.

In Sri Lanka, although the authorities have moved too slowly towards meaningful implementation of the transitional justice agenda, the Office of Missing Persons has now begun consultations and institutional capacity-building to fulfil its mandate. We look to that Office to work quickly, to begin to provide answers to the families of the disappeared. Legislation establishing an Office for Reparations is also underway. More progress in advancing accountability and truth-seeking could have great weight in the long-term stability and prosperity of the nation. Recurrent incidents of racist and inter-communal violence are disturbing, as are announced plans to resume use of the death penalty.

Mr. President,

In Syria, we are deeply concerned about the ongoing military operations in Idlib and nearby areas, and their impact on up to three million civilians who live there. We remind all parties to the conflict that they must adhere strictly to all relevant principles of international humanitarian law in the conduct of operations – and that no efforts should be spared to minimize the impact of armed conflict on civilians and to ensure their protection, including access to aid – and to humanitarian corridors to permit them to safely leave conflict-affected areas, should they choose to do so.In much of the rest of the country, armed conflict has diminished or ceased, and an estimated 80 per cent of the population now lives in Government-controlled territory. It is essential that measures be taken to address the root causes of the conflict and the rights of all Syrians – including the millions of people who have been wounded or detained, suffered the loss of family members through death or disappearance, or whose property and future have been devastated. Accountability must be a corner-stone of the country’s future.

Regarding Yemen, I urge all parties to take stock of the gravity of the findings of the Group of Eminent Experts. They have identified a number of individuals who may be responsible for international crimes, and that confidential list is now in the Office. It is crucial that there be continued international and independent investigations into all allegations of violations of international humanitarian law and war crimes – particularly in light of the apparent inability of the parties to the conflict to carry out impartial investigations. Last month’s shocking strike on a bus carrying schoolchildren was followed by another horrific series of airstrikes which left dozens of civilians and children killed and injured in Al Hudaydah. I note the recent statement by the Coalition acknowledging mistakes over the airstrike on the school bus in Sa’ada, and I will be closely following what steps are taken to hold the perpetrators accountable and provide remedy and compensation to the victims. There should be greater transparency over the coalition’s rules of engagement and the measures taken to ensure that such tragedies are not repeated. The recent Saudi royal order which appears to provide a blanket pardon to members of the Saudi armed forces for actions taken in Yemen is very concerning.

In Saudi Arabia, the recent crackdown on peaceful human rights defenders, especially defenders of women’s equality and women’s rights, is deeply disturbing. Samar Badawi and Nassima Al-Sadah were, according to our sources, arrested on 30 July 2018 and have been held incommunicado since then. The prosecutor’s recommendation of the death penalty for Israa al-Ghomgham, reportedly on charges related to participation in protests, is of serious concern. These and other arbitrary arrests of peaceful activists for the collective good sharply contradict the spirit of the country’s proclaimed new reforms. We call on the authorities to release all individuals detained for exercising their fundamental freedoms.

Iraq has recently emerged from a traumatic armed conflict that has devastated the lives of millions of its citizens and destroyed many areas of the country. With the military defeat of ISIL, the country can now concentrate on the processes of rebuilding and healing that must take place if the country is to finally put an end to recurring cycles of violence. Caring for the many thousands of victims of crimes and human rights violations and abuses, particularly those perpetrated by ISIL, will be vital to this process. Furthermore, addressing the root causes of conflict, including decades of abuses and violations, will be essential for the country to enjoy the benefits of peace and development. During the past two months, at least 25 people have been killed and some 500 injured in the context of protests and escalating violence, in Basra and elsewhere. Some positive measures have been taken by the government in response to the longstanding economic and social grievances at the root of the unrest. However, the government should take action to ensure the right of peaceful assembly and address the need to ensure that all people, without discrimination, have access to basic services – including justice and protection from physical and sexual violence. Only when decision-making processes are truly inclusive of all segments of Iraqi society, and its diverse communities, can they ensure peaceful solutions to the challenges the country faces.

In Bahrain, a large number of cases of revocation of citizenship has been reported to the Office. The legislation underpinning such actions should be reviewed in line with Bahrain’s obligations under international law.Reports of possible exclusion of Bahraini citizens from the forthcoming elections of the National Assembly are disturbing. All human rights defenders who are currently arbitrarily detained should be released, including Nabeel Rajab.

Iran’s dialogue with the Office and strengthened engagement with international human rights mechanisms are welcome, together with the recent amendment to drug-trafficking legislation, which abolishes the mandatory death penalty for some offences. The Government should be encouraged to ensure that the review of all cases is transparent, with due process guarantees such as effective legal representation. Continued use of the death penalty for juvenile offenders is deeply troubling and should be prohibited in all circumstances, with the sentences of those currently on death row commuted. I deeply deplore the executions last week of three Iranian Kurdish prisoners, despite the serious concerns raised by Special Procedures mandate holders that they were not afforded fair trials, and were subjected to torture. Recent arrests and ill-treatment of a number of human rights defenders and lawyers are deplorable. All those detained for peacefully exercising rights to freedom of expression and association should be released.

In Egypt, I am shocked by Saturday’s death sentences for 75 people, following another mass trial which failed to comply with international standards regarding due process guarantees. The trial of these protestors contrasts sharply with a recent law that bestows immunity on senior members of the security forces for human rights violations which they may have committed.

Prospects for peace and respect for human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory are undermined by the continued occupation. The ever-deepening human rights crisis in Gaza stems from 11 years of Israel’s blockade, as well as successive escalations in hostilities. Against this backdrop, the high number of deaths and injuries of Palestinians in the context of recent demonstrations along the fence in Gaza this year raise serious concerns about excessive use of force. In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the Israeli settlement enterprise – illegal under international humanitarian law – continues unabated. The coercive environment created by demolitions and severe restrictions on freedom of movement of Palestinians continues in many areas of the West Bank, with increasing acts of settler violence.Of great concern at present is the possible imminent demolition of Khan al Ahmar-abu Helu, one of 46 Palestinian Bedouin communities at risk of forcible transfer in the West Bank. We are also concerned by the recent adoption of the Nation State Basic Law in Israel, which enshrines discrimination against Israel’s non-Jewish population.

Mr President,

The Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship signed in July between Eritrea and Ethiopia offers hope for an end to the decades-long stalemate between the two countries, which has had very severe impact on the people on both sides of the border. The Office stands ready to support both countries in protecting human rights. We particularly look forward to seeing an end to indefinite conscription into the Eritrean military. In Ethiopia, the Office has recently visited regions affected by intercommunal violence between the Gedeos and the Gujies communities, where recent clashes have reportedly forced over a million people to flee their homes. We welcome initial steps taken by the Government and urge a thorough, impartial and independent investigation into the human rights violations which allegedly occurred, with full accountability for the perpetrators.

In Mali, particularly in the central part of the country and in the region of Menaka, human rights and basic security are sharply deteriorating as a result of violence across intercommunal lines; attacks by violent extremist groups; the use of improvised explosive devices; and counter-terrorism operations conducted by national and international forces, which do not always respect the human rights of the people. Credible allegations have been made regarding the extrajudicial executions of at least 77 people since the beginning of 2018. The Government has opened judicial investigations for most of these incidents, and the Office will be closely following up these and other cases.

The situation in Cameroon has also worsened in recent months, as fighting has intensified in the so-called Anglophone regions between security forces and armed groups, with a large number of civilian victims and over 180,000 people forced to take refuge far from their homes – now in pressing need of humanitarian assistance. Many economic activities across these regions are now paralyzed. In this volatile security context, many people fear reprisals if they participate in the Presidential elections scheduled next month. The Government has not acted to promote the conference on dialogue suggested by religious leaders, and there is still no mechanism in place which could envisage a halt in hostilities in the short term. We strongly condemn reports of the killing and abductions of teachers and students and the destruction of schools by armed elements in the north-west and south-west regions. These acts of intimidation are preventing thousands of children from attending school. We note that the Government has opened investigations into several atrocious crimes apparently committed by members of the military, and urge swift and effective action to ensure all the perpetrators of human rights violations are held accountable. Due process should also be guaranteed for all those detained in connection with terrorism, and we urge the Government to address key grievances, in order to foster peaceful resolution of this crisis.

In Sudan, clashes in Jebel Marra between security forces and armed groups have again led to new displacements of people in recent months. Despite some improvements in overall security in Darfur, displaced people continue to be subjected to attacks, including killings and rapes, when they venture outside their camps.Many such attacks are attributable to Government security forces and related militias, which still operate with impunity in Darfur.

In South Sudan, the agreement signed by the warring parties last month has again raised hopes for a peaceful and sustainable solution to the conflict. We urge the parties to acknowledge their part of responsibility for the violations suffered by so many across the country, by helping to establish and operationalize thelong-awaitedHybrid Court – notably, by signing its statute. We are deeply concerned by the general amnesty announced by President Kiir in Khartoum, which may result in protecting from justice a large number of perpetrators of serioushuman rightsviolations and abuses from both the government forces and armed groups. We remind the authorities that amnesties may not shield from prosecution individuals who may be criminally responsible for war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity or gross violations of human rights, including gender-specific violations.The Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan will hold an interactive dialogue with the Council later on the session. We join the Commission in deploring the fact that peace efforts have largely ignored accountability as a lever for change.

In Somalia, continued attacks against civilians by both State and non-State actors are deeply concerning. In July, UNSOM documented 51 civilians killed and 82 injured, and noted that civilian casualties attributed to Al-Shabaab had increased 309 per cent since June, and those attributable to state actors had risen by 125 per cent. The Office is also extremely concerned by the very limited democratic space in Somalia. An UNSOM report this month on violations of freedom of expression notes that between 1 August 2016 and 31 July 2018, at least eight journalists and media workers were killed and 32 injured; 94 individuals were arbitrarily arrested and/or subjected to prolonged detention on charges related to their exercise of freedom of expression; and 19 media organs were forced to close, some temporarily. A report published by UNSOM and the Office in August details numerous human rights violations and abuses committed during the 2016 and 2017 electoral process, including 44 cases of killings of community leaders and electoral delegates.

In the Central African Republic, sporadic clashes between armed groups outside the main towns continue to expose civilians to atrocity crimes and protection concerns. We deplore recent attacks against humanitarian workers in the Central region of the country.Clashes in August and September between ex-Seleka and anti-Balaka forces in Bria last month caused multiple civilian casualties and the reported destruction of villages, resulting in forced displacement of their inhabitants. In the context of current peace initiatives, we emphasise the importance of ensuring that any agreements comply with human rights law, address the importance of people’s safety, and ensure that the perpetrators of human rights violations and abuses will be held to account. Those who have incited violence and hatred between communities should also be held accountable. The Office is ready to support the establishment of inclusive and victim-centred transitional justice.

Burundi continues to enforce increasing restrictions on an already gravely-threatened civic space, amid continuing reports of grave human rights violations. In another very worrying development, theImbonerakure militia responsible for multiple abuses is now increasingly acting as a law enforcement body. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, widespread violations of civil and political rights endanger the credibility of the electoral process. The Council will be briefed on issues in these two countries later in the session.

Mr President,

Earlier this year, our Regional Office in Central Asia organized its first Human Rights Defenders Forum for the region, with more than 80 participants. The Office was, however, unable to invite activists fromTurkmenistan, as a mere invitation could have posed a threat to them. As discussed at the Forum, we continue to receive reports of intimidation, harassment, arbitrary arrests and detention, at times marked by ill-treatment, against those who legally and peacefully express dissenting views in other Central Asian countries – notably Tajikistan. While the gravity of issues is specific to each country, the freedoms of journalists, human rights defenders, members of ethnic and religious minorities and more generally, civil society, have significantly diminished. Torture also remains a pressing issue across the region, with widespread impunity for perpetrators. And as in other regions, heavy-handed policies intended to counter or prevent violent extremism are likely to be counterproductive; we encourage the authorities to focus on promoting human rights when developing and applying such policies.

As in other parts of the world, we are also concerned by the numerous reported cases of torture and ill-treatment committed by law-enforcement and penitentiary personnel in the Russian Federation. We note the prompt reaction of the Russian Government and the Federal Ombudsperson to the alleged collective torture of a detainee by prison personnel in Yaroslavl, and urge full investigation and accountability to this and all such cases.

Turkey has recently lifted its state of emergency, but we are deeply alarmed at the recently enacted anti-terror law, which retains numerous emergency restrictions and is likely to continue their adverse effect on human rights and fundamental freedoms.For instance, the law restricts due process guarantees, prolongs the duration of pre-trial detention and allows for continued dismissals of public officials, including judges and prosecutors, because of alleged links to terrorist organizations. This de facto state of emergency is accompanied by the increasing concentration of powers in the executive, and an intense and ongoing crackdown on journalists and human rights defenders. The Office alsocontinues to receive an extremely high number of allegations of deportations of Turkish nationals from third countries, and reported abductions, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions, and torture and ill-treatment.

The Council will receive a specific briefing on events in Ukraine later in the session. The ceasefire which began on 29 August to accommodate the beginning of the school year is another opportunity to for all parties to demonstrate their serious commitment to the protection of civilians, and end thesufferingof 600,000civiliansliving close to the contact line, on both sides.

Mr President,

Human rights defenders in the Americas are increasingly facing grave risks as a result of their legitimate activities. We urge these States to strengthen protection and preventive measures to swiftly address this deteriorating situation. In Colombia, by1 September the Office had recorded 53 homicides of leading human rights defenders this year, and we are verifying 57 more cases. InMexico, 8 human rights defenders were killed in the first eight months of 2018 – again, more than in the whole of 2017. Many more have been victims of criminalisation, abusive lawsuits, smear campaigns, surveillance, death threats and attacks. Last year was also the deadliest year on record for journalists in Mexico, with at least 12 killings in 2017. In 2018, we have already recorded 8 killed and 1 person who has disappeared. In Guatemala, we have documented 18 murders of human rights defenders so far this year, compared to 12 in all of 2017. The recent Presidential decisions not to extend the mandate of the CICIG beyond September 2019 – and to refuse entry to the country to its Head, Ivan Velasquez – are deplorable. They abolish an essential instrument in the fight against impunity and corruption.

We welcome Haiti‘s nomination of a high level focal point on human rights, but its recent withdrawal of support for a resolution which would have provided resources for establishing a national human rights action plan is disappointing. We encourage the Council to resume its consideration of technical assistance to Haiti.

Mr President,

These updates point to many challenging situations, but also progress in some areas. I very much hope that we can address those challenges, and build on the progress which has been made.

In a few days it will be the equinox, when our world is poised between equal night and day.

For us in the Global South this date marks the end of winter and the start of spring, and many of our cultures celebrate this time as a time of hope and working together.

I am committed to the task of ensuring that together, we grow civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights for all, together with the right to development, and thus ensure peace and sustainable development across the world.

I thank you Mr President.

 

¿Qué sería de los Estados sin la gente? por Patricia Carrera Arocha – Comisión de Peticiones del Parlamento Europeo – 3 de Septiembre 2018

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Muy buenas tardes a todos.
Soy Patricia Carrera. Una venezolana que se está volviendo loca de ver tantos muertos por violencia, hambre y enfermedad en Venezuela. El año pasado pedí a los ciudadanos del mundo que me acompañaran responsablemente en la defensa de las libertades individuales de nuestros hermanos, haciendo nosotros mismos lo que jamás debimos delegar en los partidos políticos. Venir a hablar aquí de crisis humanitaria, caos político y social, éxodo multitudinario, inseguridad personal y jurídica, secuestro de instituciones, violación reiterada y sistemática de la Constitución y los derechos humanos, todo como consecuencia del ejercicio gubernamental más corrupto, forajido, antidemocrático, ilegítimo e inepto del orbe; sería perder el tiempo. Esa situación es internacionalmente pública y notoria, por lo que no requiere de más elementos probatorios.
Sabrán, respetables miembros de esta Comisión, que los venezolanos que viven abatidos por un régimen CON PODER, que convive CON el narcotráfico, CON el tráfico de armas, CON las prebendas a cambio de petróleo, CON el contrabando, CON el apoyo de otros países a los que no les importan los venezolanos y que nos ven COMO gotas de petróleo; están sumidos en la peor de todas las crisis que hayan podido afectar a nuestra bella tierra y sufren SIN democracia, SIN comida, SIN seguridad, SIN salud, SIN respeto, SIN armas, SIN dignidad y SIN LIBERTAD. Al concluir mi exposición, no querrán agregar a esta lista: SIN apoyo del Parlamento Europeo.

La soberanía, siendo un derecho absoluto, no es de contenido absoluto, porque no puede estar por encima de los derechos humanos fundamentales. Lo mismo pasa con el principio de la no intervención, que tampoco puede estar por encima de los derechos humanos, porque somos los seres humanos quienes hacemos los Estados y no al revés y la territorialidad no puede ser más importante que la humanidad. Verán que los supuestos principios de Derecho Internacional no pueden terminar convirtiéndose en el monstruo que impida la justicia y que permita crímenes de lesa humanidad hasta el infinito, lo cual implica que, no siendo el Derecho de carácter estático, la Declaración de los Derechos Humanos y demás Tratados Internacionales terminarían siendo para Venezuela LETRA MUERTA si no son capaces de detener un régimen antidemocrático, asesino, deslegitimado por el abuso del poder y tramposo en todos los procesos electorales desde 2004 que sabemos han sido amañados.

Esos mismos principios constituyen una patente de corso para los dictadores que se refugian en su vigencia, envalentonándoles y mostrándose desafiantes ante una comunidad internacional que les mira indómita como si no tuviese el poder de proponer y aprobar cuantas reformas fuesen necesarias para garantizar la paz y la seguridad de los pueblos del mundo.
Paradójicamente, en 2013, a la ONU le bastaron 8.755 asesinatos del año anterior para actuar mediante la creación de una Brigada de Intervención, en la República Democrática del Congo, cifra esa que no llega a los talones del número de asesinados en la Venezuela de hoy, convertida en uno de los países más violentos del mundo.
La terrible tragedia venezolana ya ha llegado muy lejos. La comunidad internacional pudo haber hecho más y por esta razón yo vengo a pedir al PE que utilice todo su poder para proponer cuanto sea necesario con el objetivo de poner fin a este gravísimo conflicto geopolítico generado por un régimen asesino y sin escrúpulos.
Los venezolanos no queremos más lamentos de la comunidad internacional ni esa frase retórica de sólo “preocupación”. Queremos acciones sólidas que encaminen al país dentro del marco del respeto por los derechos humanos y por el propio derecho internacional a cuyos principios la humanidad reclama modernización. Si al salir de esta honorable sala en la que se respira libertad, el PE no lucha a favor de los derechos del hombre por encima de los derechos del Estado y sobre la base de que la soberanía no es un derecho estático de contenido absoluto, proponiendo mecanismos que activen la injerencia humanitaria y la adecuación de la normativa de Derecho Internacional para frenar el genocidio y la barbarie en Venezuela, estará abonando el camino a la consolidación de la incredulidad en las instituciones internacionales y sorprenderá al mundo por la indolencia y la indiferencia ante lo inhumano.
Pero si al salir de aquí se comienzan a mover VERDADEROS MECANISMOS CAPACES DE DETENER la barbarie en Venezuela, entonces la humanidad tendrá con todos y cada uno de ustedes una deuda de gratitud imprescriptible y, amén de que estén cumpliendo con su deber, los venezolanos de bien nunca dejaremos de agradecerles su buen accionar que sin duda hará renacer la esperanza de vivir en libertad.
VIVA VENEZUELA LIBRE Y MUCHAS GRACIAS POR SU ATENCIÓN.

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