Archive for the 'Venezuela' Category

Bid to Suspend Venezuela from UN Rights Council After Sentencing of Opposition Leader

Lilian Tintori (C), wife of jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez waves to supporters next to Venezuelan National Guards as she arrives at the courthouse to attend her husband’s trial in Caracas September 10, 2015. REUTERS/CARLOS GARCIA RAWLINS

GENEVA, September 11, 2015 – The United States, France, Germany and the United Kingdom were asked today to take action at a UN session that opens on Monday to suspend Venezuela from its membership on the world body’s 47-nation Human Rights Council, in reaction to the controversial Caracas verdict of 13 years in jail issued yesterday against opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, and over other “gross and systematic violations of human rights.”

The draft resolution (HTML version) was submitted today to the four influential UNHRC member states by the Geneva-based non-governmental organization UN Watch, which recently invited Mr. Lopez’s wife, Lilian Tintori, to address the council.

The text calls for the dispatch of an independent commission of inquiry to Venezuela, and for the suspension of Venezuela from the council, which has a precedent in the UNHRC’s 2011 ousting of Libya’s Gaddafi regime from its membership.

“Venezuela’s verdict, following a trial that denied basic due process to the defendant, is a travesty of justice that exemplifies the Maduro government’s gross and systematic violation of its own citizen’s basic rights and freedoms,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.

“When the jailer of a human rights hero is allowed to sit as a world judge of human rights, it’s like having a pyromaniac as the town fire chief. It’s absurd, and casts a shadow upon the reputation of the United Nation as a whole,” said Neuer.

Next Steps

The U.S., France, Germany or the UK will now have time to consider and, if they choose, to revise the text, hold informal consultation with fellow member states and observer states, and then submit it formally to the council by September 28th. Voting on resolutions begin on Oct. 1.

Venezuela would likely be backed by Russia, China, Cuba, and several other dictatorships on the council, but Neuer said that a majority or plurality could be found “if democracies act in concert.”

A decision of the Council to suspend Venezuela would then need to be ratified by the UN General Assembly in New York, which is likely to ensue once the action enjoys sufficient support from the Geneva-based Council.

The suspension could later be reversed if Venezuela is found to be in compliance with the resolution and its obligation as a UNHRC member to uphold “the highest standards of human rights.”

UN Watch and the Situation of Human Rights in Venzuela

UN Watch was founded in 1993 by the late civil rights leader Morris Abram, and has been a leading voice for human rights in Venezuela, providing a global platform to relatives of Mr. Lopez, to former political prisoners, dissidents, human rights advocates, student leaders, and democracy protest organizers. UN Watch organizes the annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy with 20 other NGOs.

  UN Watch director Hillel Neuer and Lilian Tintori
June 30, 2015


Draft UNHRC Resolution to Suspend Venezuela from its Membership

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 11.43.54 PM

GENEVA, Sept. 11, 2015 – The following proposed resolution to suspend Venezuela from the United Nations Human Rights Council, was submitted today by UN Watch to the following member states for them to table it at the UNHRC session opening on 14 September 2015: the United States, France, Germany, and the UK.

PDF Version

Draft Resolution for the
United Nations Human Rights Council
30th Session, September 14-25, 2015

Situation of Human Rights in Venezuela

The Human Rights Council,

Guided by the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and recalling the International Covenants on Human Rights and other relevant human rights instruments,

Reaffirming that all Member States have an obligation to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms and the duty to fulfil the obligations they have undertaken under the various international instruments in this field,

 Gravely concerned that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has severely restricted freedom of expression, prosecuted government critics, inhibited the activities of human rights organizations, and undermined the independence of its judiciary, thereby creating a chilling effect amongst the general public and media at large within Venezuela, Continue reading ‘Draft UNHRC Resolution to Suspend Venezuela from its Membership’

Wife of Jailed Venezuelan Opposition Leader Addresses U.N.

Testimony of Lilian Tintori, wife of Venezuelan opposition leader and prisoner of conscience Leopoldo Lopez, before UN Human Rights Council, 30 June 2015.

Thank you, Mr. President.

My name is Lilian Tintori and I am Venezuelan. I have the honor to make this declaration on behalf of UN Watch.

IMAG1584Article 2 of the Durban Declaration prohibits all forms of discrimination, including discrimination based on political or other opinions.

I am here for all the names I have on my chest and my back. They are tortured, persecuted and killed. My husband Leopoldo Lopez, opposition leader in Venezuela, unjustly in jail, is only one of many cases. I speak in his name and in the name of all those silenced, like Geraldine Moreno, assassinated in close range, and Jose Manuel Carrasco, raped with a weapon in his anus, both by state security forces.

My husband Leopoldo is in jail for speaking out against the human rights violations that occur in our country, the right to life is violated every 20 minutes, homicides last year were above 25,000, inflation, medicine and food scarcity is more that 72%. Leopoldo has been in jail for 16 month, 9 of which in solitary confinement, with inhuman treatment and torture. In 2014, there were more than 3700 arbitrary detentions. I am here as a wife, as a mother that is raising her two children alone.

Continue reading ‘Wife of Jailed Venezuelan Opposition Leader Addresses U.N.’

Venezuelan political prisoner in critical state

Daniel Ceballos, mayor of San Cristobal, is about to die. He has been on hunger strike since May 22 along with Leopoldo López, Venezuelan political leader and another six political prisioners. Their demand is to fix a date for parliamentary elections–due to take place this year–allow for international election observers, and free all political prisoners.
Ceballos was detained in March 2014 under allegations of conspiracy and other charges related to student demonstrations in his city last year.
To date, the government has taken no steps to attend to any of these demands, and family members fear he will soon die as his kidneys are shutting down and has face and hands paralysis. We call upon the government of Venezuela to release all political prisoners without delay and open the way for free and democratic elections.
Below the OHCHR spokesman release on this matter:

Continue reading ‘Venezuelan political prisoner in critical state’

Today: UN to Hear from Venezuelan Protest Leaders, Cuban Dissidents

Testifying: Venezuelan student protest leaders Eusebio Costa & Alejandro Teppa; and Angel Carromero, driver in the suspicious crash that killed legendary Cuban dissident Oswaldo Payá

GENEVA, June 17, 2014 – For the first time ever, the UN will hear testimony from leaders of the Venezuela protest movement, as well as from the survivor of the suspicious car crash that killed legendary Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya.

The hearings on human rights in Venezuela and Cuba, organized by a NGO coalition as an official event inside the United Nations Human Rights Council, will take place today in Geneva, Tuesday, June 17th. Continue reading ‘Today: UN to Hear from Venezuelan Protest Leaders, Cuban Dissidents’

Upcoming UN Summit of Venezuelan Dissidents Raises Ire of Caracas

UN Human Rights Council event on June 17 to examine Venezuela crackdown; National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello says gathering seeks to “discredit” government


GENEVA, June 15, 2014 –  The head of the Venezuelan parliament was one of several top Caracas officials to lash out at an upcoming gathering of Venezuelan dissidents at the United Nations Human Rights Council, where the government’s violent repression of protests is expected to come under intense scrutiny.

The first-ever UN summit of Venezuelan dissidents, which will draw together ambassadors, UN officials, and rights activists, is being organized by the Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch, with the co-sponsorship of Iniciativa por Venezuela, Human Rights Foundation and Directorio.

The event will take place this Tuesday, June 17th, at the Palais des Nations headquarters of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. (To request interviews, contact UN Watch).  Continue reading ‘Upcoming UN Summit of Venezuelan Dissidents Raises Ire of Caracas’

States try to silence UN Watch 18 times, but in vain

UN Watch was very active during the 25th session of the UN Human Rights Council, which just concluded. We delivered a total of 10 statements on a variety of issues and we hosted two family members of human rights defenders who are currently in jail, Julieta Lopez, aunt of Leopoldo Lopez of Venezuela and Ti-Anna Wang, daughter of Dr. Wang Bingzhang of China.

UN Watch speakers were interrupted 18 times by states that did not like to hear what we were saying. Most of the time, it was by members of the Human Rights Council who have pledged to “uphold the highest standard of human rights.”

First on the list was Venezuela with 5 interruptions and then were the Palestinian Authority and Saudi Arabia with 3 each. Cuba and Pakistan interrupted UN Watch twice each, and once by Algeria, China and Morocco.  The President stood firm and he allowed the UN Watch speaker to conclude at every occasion.

Continue reading ‘States try to silence UN Watch 18 times, but in vain’

Clash at UN Assembly: Venezuela Objects as Aunt of Jailed Opposition Leader Calls for Urgent Human Rights Council Debate

UN Watch circulates draft resolution for urgent debate and commission of inquiry
GENEVA, March 7, 2014 – Venezuela’s representative to the UN Human Rights Council vociferously objected today when the aunt of jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, speaking on behalf of the non-governmental human rights group UN Watch, called on the 47-nation body to convene an urgent debate on the escalating situation and to dispatch a commission of inquiry. Click here for text and video.

Immediately following the clash, UN Watch submitted to U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power and EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton a draft letter that would convene an urgent debate on Venezuela, as well as a draft resolution to condemn Venezuela’s violations of human rights, suspend the government of president Nicolas Maduro from the Human Rights Council, and create a commission of inquiry. Continue reading ‘Clash at UN Assembly: Venezuela Objects as Aunt of Jailed Opposition Leader Calls for Urgent Human Rights Council Debate’

Tripoli Trifecta: Hugo Chavez, Qaddafi & Jean Ziegler

Human rights activists slam U.N. tribute to Chavez

UN Watch led the campaign against Venezuela’s election to the UNHRC, brought Chavez victims to testify in the council, and organized the draft UN resolution condemning his abuses

GENEVA, March 6, 2013 – The Geneva-based human rights monitoring group U.N. Watch criticized the chief United Nations human rights body for holding a rare minute of silence today for late Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez, saying that the Cuban-led praise (see below) was “excessive, uncustomary, and disrespectful of its own experts’ findings of gross and systematic human rights abuses committed by the Caracas government, and of testimony by Venezuelan victims whom UN Watch had brought before the Council.”

“Protocol did not require today’s ceremony,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer, “and the world body must not forget that its founding purpose is to defend basic human rights. Sadly, that message is at serious risk of being blurred today.” Continue reading ‘Human rights activists slam U.N. tribute to Chavez’

Say no to Chavez election to U.N. Human Rights Council on Nov. 12

Hugo Chavez is about to win a second election in one month’s time for a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council — and his victory results there stand to reach as high as 100 percent.

UN Watch has launched an international campaign (, supported by dozens of human rights NGOs and parliamentarians, to block the Chavez bid. The U.N. vote will be on Nov. 12th in New York.

Sadly, not a single country — including the U.S. — has registered its public opposition. Yet the election of Chavez would grant legitimacy to an autocrat who systematically harasses journalists, judges, human rights activists and student leaders, a man who supports the butchers of Syria and Iran just as he backed “brother” Col. Qaddafi to the bitter end.

Urge U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice to speak out: Click Here. Continue reading ‘Say no to Chavez election to U.N. Human Rights Council on Nov. 12’

Shamed Sudan Pulls Out After Campaign by Human Right NGOs led by Mia Farrow

UN Watch sounded the alarm, filed legal protest, submitted appeal by 30 rights groups to 193 countries, organized online petition sending  3,000 messages to Sudanese UN mission

Group now shifts focus to candidacies of Venezuela and Pakistan

GENEVA, Sept. 3 – In a rare victory for activists seeking to bar abuser states from the U.N. Human Rights Council, Sudan dropped its bid following a massive NGO campaign chaired by Mia Farrow and organized by the Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch.

The UN Watch offensive included the filing of a legal objection, an appeal by 30 human rights NGOs, the dispatch of letters to nine foreign ministers and 193 U.N. missions, a Facebook and online campaign that sent 3,000 messages to Sudan’s UN envoy, and to U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, who in turn pressured the Khartoum regime.

Continue reading ‘Shamed Sudan Pulls Out After Campaign by Human Right NGOs led by Mia Farrow’

Venezuelan activist speaks at UN: “Chavez forces shot my mother, don’t elect him to U.N. rights council”

Video: the heated 11-minute exchange begins at minute 27:20.

Cuba, China, Russia and Pakistan interrupted the following speech today in the UN Human Rights Council by Thor Halvorssen, president of the Human Rights Foundation. The USA defended his right to speak. The speech was delivered as part of UN Watch’s international campaign against Chavez’s bid for a council seat, timed right before today’s related U.N. appearance by Venezuelan exile Eligio Cedeno.
Thank you, Madam President.
My name is Thor Halvorssen, and I come from Venezuela. In 2004, my mother was shot by the security forces of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.
Through the Human Rights Foundation, which I founded and direct, I have carefully monitored the Venezuelan state and have established that its current government is among Latin America’s worst human rights violators. Continue reading ‘Venezuelan activist speaks at UN: “Chavez forces shot my mother, don’t elect him to U.N. rights council”’

U.N. speech: Famous Venezuelan political prisoner confronts Chavez

Speaking on behalf of UN Watch, Venezuelan exile Eligio Cedeno, a former political prisoner and prominent businessman, delivered the following speech today before the U.N. Human Rights Council. UN Watch has launched an international campaign to stop Chavez from winning a seat on the council.

Video begins at mark 1:03:55 below

Thank you, Madam President.

My name is Eligio Cedeño, and I come from Venezuela. Today I am a free person, but three years ago I was a political prisoner in Venezuela.

I was sent to jail because I provided financial support to Venezuela’s political opposition.

I was jailed for two years, ten months and three days — without a trial. Following a recommendation of this organization, the United Nations, I was freed by Venezuelan Judge Maria Lourdes Afiuni.
Continue reading ‘U.N. speech: Famous Venezuelan political prisoner confronts Chavez’

Dissidents propose draft resolutions for world’s ignored emergencies

The Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy took place on March 13, 2012, organized by UN Watch and an international coalition of 20 NGOs. The Summit, which ran in parallel to the main session of the U.N. Human Rights Council, produced alternative draft resolutions for the Council to consider. These deal with urgent human rights situaitons that have so far been ignored by the international community. These are:

Venezuela rigs U.N. speakers list to ensure stellar review of rights record

Today Venezuela’s UPR report is scheduled to be adopted by the U.N. Human Rights Council at 3 pm Geneva time. Each review lasts one hour, during which state representatives have 20 minutes to discuss the report, accept or reject its recommendations, and respond to any questions from the floor.

The other 40 minutes are divided equally between states and NGOs, each getting two minutes to speak. That means a maximum of 10 states and 10 NGOs can take the floor.

As reported, the list of speakers is as follows:


1. Cuba
2. Nicaragua
3. Vietnam
4. China
5. Uruguay
6. Dominican Republic
7. Iran
8. North Korea
9. Syria
10. Myanmar [List of states to be cut here due to time  limit]
11. Ecuador
12. Laos
13. Philippines
14. Zimbabwe
15. Russia
16. Morocco
17. Sri Lanka
18. U.S.A.
19. India
20. Belarus
21. Paraguay


1. Defensora del Pueblo Gabriela Ramirez
2. Indian Council of South America
3. Cuban Women Federation
4. Word Federation of Trade Unions
5. Cuban Association for the United Nations
6. North-South XXI
7. Organización International de aportación de voluntarios para mujeres, educación y desarrollo (VIDES)
8. Association for the Prevention of Torture
9. Human Rights Watch
10. Article 19  [List of states to be cut here due to time  limit]
12. Instituto internacional de Maria Auxiliadora (IIMA)
13. United Nations Watch (UN Watch)
14. Save the Children
15. Amnesty International
16. Encuentro africano por la defensa de los derechos humanos

What is clear from the above is that the Venezuelan government, aided no doubt by the experienced Cuban diplomats,  rallied their close friends — governments and phony NGOs  (known as “GONGOs”, or Government-operated NGOs) — to monopolize the limited time of the debate.

For example, there are several pro-Castro NGOs on the list as well as the North-South XXI group, which was created by the Qaddafi regime. We shall be lucky to hear even six minutes of genuine scrutiny of the Chavez regime’s violations of human rights.

Venezuela UN Ambassador rejects UN Watch protests, defends Chavez regime’s bid for seat on UN rights council

In response to UN Watch’s campaign to block the Chavez regime’s bid for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, the Spanish-language division of Radio Netherlands reports today that Venezuelan ambassador to the UN Jorge Valero has “defended his country’s bid to qualify,” making the following claims:

Chavez running for seat on top UN rights body

Rights groups to oppose bids by Pakistan and Venezuela for UN Human Rights Council

GENEVA, Feb. 22 – The governments of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and Pakistan are slated to run unopposed for seats on the UN’s 47-nation Human Rights Council this year, reported the independent monitoring group UN Watch, citing sources close to the UN.

“It’s an outrage,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based UN Watch, who announced the formation of an international coalition of parliamentarians and human rights groups to block both candidacies, “due to their poor records on human rights protection at home and on human rights promotion at the UN.” Continue reading ‘Chavez running for seat on top UN rights body’

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