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Venezuela: UN independent expert welcomes government action after his visit


28 December 2017


GENEVA (28 December 2017) - One of the UN’s independent experts on human rights has praised the Government of Venezuela for introducing a series of measures in line with recommendations he made after a recent mission to the country.

Alfred de Zayas, the UN’s Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order, highlighted a task force set up by the Foreign Ministry to strengthen cooperation with the UN system, in order to improve the distribution of food and medicine.

He also welcomed the announcement on 23 December that a number of people held in connection with public demonstrations were being released.

"I personally pleaded for the release of numerous detainees and was delighted to find many of their names among the list of those benefiting from the governmental decision. This constitutes a sign of movement towards national reconciliation and demonstrates that dialogue bears fruit," said Mr. de Zayas.

“While those who were released should enjoy full freedom, the release of other detainees would be welcomed,” he said, adding that those accused of violent acts during the demonstrations should be guaranteed due process of law.

The expert encouraged all governments in the region to support dialogue taking place in the Dominican Republic between the Venezuelan Government and the opposition, adding: “Any resolution must be crafted and decided by all Venezuelans and enjoy international solidarity.”

Mr. de Zayas said: “I encourage all men and women of goodwill to support efforts to alleviate the scarcity of certain food and medical supplies, and to contribute to relieving other problems resulting in part from sanctions and boycotts against Venezuela that have only aggravated the suffering being endured by Venezuelans of all social classes.”  Inflation can also be addressed through measures to combat contraband in foods and medicines.

The expert said the measures already taken by the Government had formed part of the preliminary recommendations, which he presented to the Government in Caracas at the conclusion of his mission on 4 December 2017.


Mr. Alfred de Zayas (United States of America) was appointed as the first Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order by the Human Rights Council, effective May 2012. He is currently professor of international law at the Geneva School of Diplomacy. Mr. de Zayas practiced corporate law and family law in New York and Florida. As a Human Rights Council mandate holder, he is independent from any government or organization and serves in his individual capacity.

Statements issued following the official visit to Venezuela can be found at: 

The Independent Experts are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Councils independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights country page - Venezuela

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts please contact:
Jeremy Laurence
Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / [email protected]

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