GENEVA – The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner For Human Rights urged on Tuesday the Venezuelan government to respect its citizens’ rights to peaceful demonstration and freedom of expression, and appealed to all parties concerned to renounce violence.
OHCHR spokesperson Elizabeth Throssell told EFE the office had not yet examined in detail the government’s decision to ban democratically elected politician and opposition leader Henrique Capriles from running for office for 15 years, but stressed he “is a democratically elected politician and has held public posts over a political career spanning more than 20 years.”
“We are concerned at reports of violence. We call on the Venezuelan government to ensure that the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of opinion are guaranteed,” she added.
The Venezuelan opposition has held protests in the last few days in Caracas to support parliament, the majority of which is anti-government, and its demands for elections and the removal of the Supreme Court judges.
However, the protests have resulted in clashes with police, who in recent days used tear gas and other means to subdue demonstrators.
Throssell urged the Venezuelan public “to use peaceful means to make themselves heard” and called on all parties involved to renounce violence.
She also appealed to “security forces to operate in accordance with international human rights standards for the management of assemblies.”
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein, has asked for an independent investigation into the death of Jairo Ortiz, 19, who died last week in Carrizal municipality in Miranda state on the outskirts of Caracas.