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Press briefing notes Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Briefing notes on Venezuela and Open House Day

10 September 2013

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Rupert Colville
Location: Geneva
Date: 10 September 2013

1) Venezuela

In September last year, Venezuela announced its withdrawal from the American Human Rights Convention. Regrettably, this withdrawal becomes effective today. We want to repeat our concern that this decision may have a very negative impact on human rights in the country and beyond.

We would like to encourage the Venezuelan Government, and all other States in the Americas, to continue to cooperate with regional and international human rights mechanisms, and urge them not to take any measures that would weaken human rights protection – withdrawing from a regional system is one such measure.
Regional human rights bodies, such as the Court and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, play a crucial role in the promotion and protection of human rights in the region, and also reinforce international universal human rights standards and treaties.

2) Open House Day on September 14

For the second time since its creation 20 years ago, the UN Human Rights Office will open the doors of Palais Wilson to the public on Saturday 14 September from 10:00 to 18:00. The event is supported by the Swiss government and the City and Canton of Geneva as part of the commemorations of the 20th Anniversary of the UN Human Rights Office.

Activities will include guided tours of this historical building – which was the original home of the League of Nations - and exhibitions of artistic works from around the world donated to the Office. There will also be film screenings on human rights issues, musical performances, children's activities as well as two panel discussions on women human rights defenders and reprisals against people who cooperate with the UN.

Palais Wilson is being lit by a special light show every night until 22 September.

Visitors will be requested to present an identification document at the gate.

For information, please visit


For further information and media requests, please contact Rupert Colville (+41 22 917 9767 / [email protected]), Cecile Pouilly (+41 917 93 10/ [email protected]) or Liz Throssell (+ 41 22 917 9434 / [email protected])

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