UN Office and Venezuelan Government sign Memorandum
GENEVA/NEW YORK (23 September 2019) – The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Government of Venezuela have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which establishes a framework for future discussion and cooperation, and provides for ongoing presence in the country of a team of two UN human rights officers.
The cooperation document provides a basis for ongoing dialogue, with a view towards future conclusion of an agreement providing for a UN Human Rights country office in Venezuela. The Memorandum also aims, in the meantime, to better protect and promote human rights in Venezuela through an array of new steps. These include the strengthening of national human rights protection mechanisms and access to justice, as well as the facilitation of visits by UN Special Rapporteurs over the next two years. The details of these activities are to be laid out in a future work plan, which is to be agreed between the Government of Venezuela and the UN Human Rights Office within 30 days of the signing.
The UN human rights staff will work with the authorities and support them in fulfilling the human rights commitments agreed in the context of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet’s visit to Caracas in June 2019. In the Memorandum, the Government has committed to allow UN human rights officers access to detention centres, and freedom of movement across the country.
“I and my Office are committed to working closely with the authorities, as well as with civil society organizations, to promote and protect the human rights and fundamental liberties of everyone in the country,” said Bachelet.
The Memorandum of Understanding, which was signed on 20 September by Bachelet and Venezuela’s Minister of Popular Power for Foreign Affairs, Jorge Arreaza, lasts for a year.