Archive for the 'Venezuela' Category

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’

Again: Venezuela interrupts testimony at UN Human Rights Council

UN Watch Statement to 25th Session of UN Human Rights Council, delivered by Kelsey Truman, 14 March 2014.

Human Rights Council Must Listen to the Victims

Thank you, Mr. President. Today we ask: How can this Council protect the rights of the Universal Declaration — the right to life, to equality, to freedom of religion and speech, the right to be free from torture and slavery?

One way is by recognizing the heroes who inspire activists the world over for the cause of human rights.

That is what UN Watch did just a few weeks ago, across the street, at the Geneva Summit for Human Rights. For the sixth year in a row, we organized this annual civil society forum, together with twenty other non-governmental human rights groups from around the world.

Hundreds of dissidents, activists, diplomats, journalists and students participated, helping to place urgent situations on the world agenda. The summit heard from courageous dissidents and activists, many of them former political prisoners, who embody the founding human rights virtues of the United Nations.

Julietta Lopez of Venezuela delivered an urgent message from her nephew, jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez. [Venezuela interrupted on a point of order, and attacked UN Watch; the chair defended the speaker’s rights and gave the floor back to UN Watch.]

Dr. Rakhshinda Perveen examined women’s rights in Pakistan. Biram Dah Abeid spoke of his struggle to end slavery in Mauritania.

Naghmeh Abedini pleaded for the release of her husband, Pastor Saeed Abedini, who is in jail in Iran for exercising his freedom of religion. Blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng, who tried to defend women in China from forced abortions, received the Geneva Summit Courage Award.

Finally, Annick Cojean from Le Monde spoke of her recent book , which documents how  thousands of women and girls, including students on campus, were violently raped, over decades and on a systematic basis, by Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

We urge everyone to listen to her testimony, which is available at, especially the many countries who, during the Council’s UPR review of Libya, had praised Gaddafi’s record on women’s rights. These include Belarus, DPRK, Iran, Jordan, Myanmar, Qatar, Sudan and Yemen.

Mr. President, When this Council listen to these courageous voices, and take action for victims worldwide?

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’