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Venezuela: UN independent expert welcomes government action

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.

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