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Delegates sit at the opening of the 41th session of the Human Rights Council, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, June 24, 2019. © 2019 Magali Girardin/Keystone via AP

We thank the High Commissioner for her report, highlighting key human rights challenges in Venezuela. It describes deaths during security operations committed by security forces that have frequently been involved in the government’s crackdown on dissent. It mentions poor access to health care that deepens the humanitarian emergency, which predates US economic sanctions. It describes the criminalization of civil society organizations, perhaps most clearly seen in the arbitrary detention of Javier Tarazona, a human rights defender from the NGO Fundaredes, which exposed links between Venezuelan authorities and armed groups operating in Apure state.

The facts speak for themselves: Venezuelan authorities have failed to meaningfully implement the High Commissioner’s recommendations.

A key recommendation that remains pending is to overhaul Venezuela’s judiciary to end impunity for egregious crimes. Recent government reforms to Venezuela’s justice system failed to restore judicial independence in the country and may even further weaken it. The process to select new justices for the Supreme Court – which plays a critical role in the appointment and removal of lower court judges – was not fully independent and justices who failed to act as a check on executive power were reelected.

Impunity remains the norm.

We urge the High Commissioner to support all efforts to push for accountability abroad. Specifically, she should publicly support the renewal of the Fact-Finding Mission on Venezuela’s mandate and cooperate with the International Criminal Court’s prosecutor’s team in Caracas so they can pursue solid investigations into alleged crimes against humanity by Venezuelan authorities, including responsibility along the chain of command.

Thank you.

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