Rights activists hail Venezuela’s departure from UN Human Rights Council | Reuters, file
In an attempt to put the human rights record of other countries into perspective, Venezuela is set to pull out of the United Nation’s Human Rights council in May.
Under the terms of the decision, issued on Tuesday, the government said it would pull out of the UN’s Human Rights Council over concerns around the politicization of the body, with Venezuela saying it would no longer be part of the body “based on the principle that its members must be impartial.”
Venezuela’s ambassador to the United Nations, María Alfonso Canales de Mosquera, said the country’s decision “follows the principle that Venezuela rejects any political activity in the Council, which is the prerogative of the national parliaments and people.”
The diplomat said that the president of the country’s national council of dialogue, Jorge Rodríguez, will take charge of the decision. He said he hopes the move will help “improve the state of human rights in Venezuela and the right to development.”
According to the new resolution, Venezuela has been given until Monday to submit a list of countries where it is considering leaving the Human Rights Council.
The process was set up in 2015 after Venezuela called for a special session on the issue of human rights and political persecution. The country was barred from taking part in the meeting this year due to the presidential election in Venezuela and the fact that many countries refused to send representatives to the council unless the country withdrew.
The decision came hours after a group of prominent US human rights advocates sent a letter to the president of the council saying the Venezuelan ambassador’s decision was “unprecedented.”
“Venezuela’s withdrawal from the HRC is a highly regrettable decision that undermines progress in addressing the ongoing human rights crisis in that country,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch.
“The HRC has a distinguished history of promoting and upholding rights around the world,” he said, noting that “Venezuela’s decision is a dramatic setback for the cause of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Venezuela.”
Venezuela has been under severe strain at home and abroad