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Venezuela says goodbye to the UPR weakening international cooperation

On Friday, July 1, the adoption session of the third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Venezuela was held. The final report was approved by the Human Rights Council, which was used by the Maduro government to continue its propaganda about “progress and improvements” in the human rights situation, without specifying or providing evidence on the implementation of the recommendations accepted during the previous cycle.
The government’s narrative once again revolved around its victimization in the face of unilateral coercive measures. According to the official delegation in Geneva, “the Human Rights Council recognized the truths of the country”, in which “Venezuela has been the target of 502 unilateral coercive measures and other criminal and illegal provisions, direct and indirect (…) which has deprived the country of 99% of its foreign exchange earnings from exports and of at least 30,000 million dollars”. The government complemented this narrative by stating that it “assumed new commitments in human rights”, following its slogans to the void.
In contrast, Venezuela received a total of 328 recommendations from 115 States, increasing both the number of evaluating States and the number of recommendations, compared to the 274 recommendations from 96 States in the previous cycle. This first data, as reported by the Civilis organization, “indicates an accumulation of pending recommendations and a constant concern of the international community about the factors that continue to cause the human rights crisis and the complex humanitarian emergency”
The Venezuelan State accepted 221 of the 328 recommendations, reducing, according to Civilis, its “record of willingness to implement recommendations, from 70.4% to 67.4% between the 2nd and 3rd cycle, leaving without support a total of 107, which touch on substantive issues of the crisis”. In general, the State accepted more recommendations in the thematic blocks of economic, social and cultural rights, civil and political rights, and democratic institutions, leaving aside the most sensitive block for the government: international cooperation. Of 99 recommendations in this last group, the State ignored 50 (37 noted and 13 rejected), which is equivalent to 50.5% not supported, demonstrating its systematic opposition for the international community to observe and demand compliance against the worsening of the crisis.

The fact that the State resists international cooperation is not accidental. Without cooperation, not only is there no monitoring or demands by the international community, but it is difficult to build an international public truth about Venezuela. Not surprisingly, the recommendations that the State rejected in this thematic block include, among others: 1- recognize and collaborate with the International Independent Fact-Finding Mission and 2- revoke the decision to withdraw from the inter-American human rights system. In addition, it took note of the following: 3- implement OHCHR recommendations and facilitate a permanent country office; 4-issue invitations to special procedures; 5-ratify treaties such as the Convention against Enforced Disappearances, the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, among other non-ratified instruments.
The set of recommendations rejected in the remaining three thematic areas is further weakened by the lack of international cooperation. In other words, recommendations such as reestablishing the independence of powers, especially the judiciary, fighting impunity, holding free elections, ending the repression against dissidents and civil society, and other more specific ones, have little, if any, possibility of being carried out without the international community. It is precisely by closing the doors to international cooperation that the State has deepened the human rights and humanitarian crisis throughout the territory.
This confirms that the State, contrary to how it propagates internationally, is not cooperating, but rather breaking all international guarantees. Today more than ever, the international community should redouble its efforts to persuade Venezuela in different ways to return to the course of world public scrutiny. It is urgent to strengthen monitoring and compliance, which involves reviewing and coordinating better strategies.