Rights activists hail Venezuela’s departure from UN Human Rights Council
This week, Venezuela announced that it would be leaving the UN human rights council, a move the country had been advocating for several years. Here, rights’ activists offer their reactions.
On Sunday, the UN Human Rights Council will hold its 54th session, where it will be announced that Venezuela will be leaving the organization. Despite the fact that Venezuela has been in the council since 2009, it was still only last year that it was elected to the council. In the run up to its re-election, however, it was a vocal advocate for human rights in the organization.
In early August, Venezuela’s Minister of Communication, Mr. Jesús Silva-Andrade, announced that the country would be withdrawing from the Human Rights Council. He argued that there has been no improvement since it was first created and that the only reason it is still on the Council is because, unlike the other countries that are members, Venezuela is not yet a member state and therefore is eligible to vote. However, Venezuela withdrew the country from the human rights council in 2015, and since then it is only a vocal advocate in the organization for other member states.
While Venezuela’s withdrawal from the human rights council is a setback and can hardly be called a surprise, it is nevertheless an important one. The most important aspect of Venezuela’s leaving is that it is a direct threat to the political, economic and social agenda that Venezuela has pushed for nearly a year. Moreover, such a decision could have important implications for how other countries will approach the rights agenda.
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As many of you may know, I used to work at the UN Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland, for a number of years. It is a huge organization, with a huge staff, and I used to make regular trips here from Geneva.
One of the things I got to see regularly is how the Secretariat works. It is a really great organization. It is run like a family here, and with a great spirit.
If you watch the video at the end of that post, you’ll see the work done by the Secretariat’s human rights advisers and staff. All the work they do gets reviewed by UN Watch, and all the reports they provide to governments and NGOs get scrutinized by Human Rights Watch. All the work they do is