Tags: Venezuela | politics | rights | diplomacy | Uruguay

Uruguay Voices Concern over Rights Abuses in Venezuela

Monday, 06 Apr 2015 01:02 PM

Uruguay expressed concern Monday over the human rights situation in Venezuela, citing reports of torture, arbitrary detentions and an authorization for the military to use lethal weapons against protesters.

Foreign Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa called on Venezuela to allow the International Committee of the Red Cross to visit its prisons and report on conditions there.

Nin's comments on a local radio show come just days before an April 10-11 Summit of the Americas in Panama expected to focus in part on the situation in Venezuela under leftist President Nicolas Maduro.

At least 43 people were killed in protests that swept Venezuela last year amid growing public discontent over widespread shortages of basic goods, soaring inflation and rampant crime.

Maduro has angrily rejected criticism of his government's arrests of top opposition leaders and its use of other hard-line tactics to squelch the protests, while blaming the country's mounting economic woes on a US-backed campaign against his government.

Uruguay currently holds the presidency of Unasur, a regional security bloc that has made intermittent attempts to foster a political dialogue in Venezuela but has so far refrained from criticizing the Maduro government.

Nin said, however, a recent Amnesty International report on Venezuela detailing the shooting deaths of demonstrators by police and pro-government groups, torture and sexual abuse of detainees, and arbitrary detentions was "enormously concerning."

He expressed particular concern over a defense ministry measure authorizing the armed forces to use firearms or other lethal weapons to suppress protests.

"Clearly it is excessive," he said.

Nin likened the human rights situation in Venezuela to that in Uruguay 30 years ago under a military dictatorship that launched a campaign of repression against the political left after taking power in 1973.

"We had to go to the world to ask for help," Nin said, noting that human rights is the one issue where the principle of non-interference in another country's internal affairs does not apply.

"This is why we ask that the International Red Cross go into Venezuela's jails and draw up a report," he said.

The foreign minister said such a Red Cross mission had been proposed to Maduro at a recent Unasur summit in Quito and "the response was silence."

"We will continue insisting on this," he said.

 

© AFP 2017

 
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Uruguay expressed concern Monday over the human rights situation in Venezuela, citing reports of torture, arbitrary detentions and an authorization for the military to use lethal weapons against protesters.Foreign Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa called on Venezuela to allow the...
Venezuela, politics, rights, diplomacy, Uruguay
374
2015-02-06
Monday, 06 Apr 2015 01:02 PM
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