- Title: Venezuela using excessive force, arrests to crush protests, U.N. says
- Date: 8th August 2017
- Summary: GENEVA, SWITZERLAND (AUGUST 8, 2017) (REUTERS) UNITED NATIONS ENTRANCE UNITED NATIONS SIGN VARIOUS OF NEWS BRIEFING IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS SPOKESWOMAN, RAVINA SHAMDASANI, SAYING: "So the interviews conducted remotely by the U.N. Human Rights' team paint a picture of widespread and systematic use of excessive force and arbitrary detentions against demonstrators in Venezuela. The team's findings also indicate patterns of other human rights' violations including violent house raids, torture and ill treatment of those detained in connection with the protests." JOURNALISTS LISTENING (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS SPOKESWOMAN, RAVINA SHAMDASANI, SAYING: "Yes, we are concerned that the situation in Venezuela is escalating and these patterns of human rights violations are showing no signs of abating so we are worried about the direction in which it is heading, which is why we've put these preliminary findings out there. We're calling on the government and all parties to take measures to de-escalate the situation." VARIOUS OF JOURNALISTS LISTENING (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS SPOKESWOMAN, RAVINA SHAMDASANI, SAYING: "The high commissioner says that these violations have occurred amid a breakdown in the rule of law in Venezuela with constant attacks by the government against the national assembly and the attorney general's office. The responsibility for the human rights violations we are recording lies at the highest levels of government." VARIOUS OF JOURNALISTS LISTENING (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS SPOKESWOMAN, RAVINA SHAMDASANI, SAYING: "As of July 31, the attorney general's office was investing 124 deaths in the context of the demonstrations. According to the U.N. human rights team's analysis, security forces are allegedly responsible for at least 46 of those deaths while pro-government armed groups, which are referred to as armed 'colectivos' are reportedly responsible for 27." VARIOUS OF JOURNALISTS LISTENING
- Embargoed: 22nd August 2017 12:17
- Keywords: Venezuela rights protests opposition government Nicolas Maduro U.N. United Nations
- Location: GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
- City: GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
- Country: Switzerland
- Topics: Fundamental Rights/Civil Liberties,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0016TAR13B
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Venezuelan security forces have wielded excessive force to suppress protests, killing dozens, and have arbitrarily detained 5,000 people since April, including 1,000 still in custody, the United Nations human rights office said on Tuesday (August 8).
In preliminary findings based on 135 interviews conducted remotely and in Panama, it said it had investigated 124 deaths, and found 46 attributable to security forces and 27 to pro-government armed groups, with the rest unclear.
On Friday, Venezuela inaugurated a new legislative superbody that is expected to rewrite the constitution and give vast powers to Maduro's ruling Socialist Party, defying protests and worldwide condemnation that it undermines democratic freedoms.
Ill-treatment and even torture have been reported in detention, while several hundred demonstrators have been brought before military rather than civilian courts, the United Nations Human Rights spokeswoman, Ravina Shamdasani told reporters in Geneva during a news briefing.
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