The High Commissioner for Human Rights also denounced that the population’s income continues to be insufficient to guarantee an adequate standard of living. She also spoke about China, Afghanistan and environmental threats.
Michelle Bachelet on Monday condemned the persecution against human rights defenders and union leaders in Venezuela by the Nicolás Maduro regime and criticized the lack of disclosure of public data in the country.
“The role of civil society is even more essential and must be protected,” stressed the High Commissioner for Human Rights, in her opening speech at the 48th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
The former Chilean president expressed her concern about the intimidation and criminalization of activists and encouraged dialogue for elections in universities.
Regarding the lack of transparency on the part of the Nicolás Maduro regime, she indicated that the lack of public data prevents adequate monitoring of public policies.
He also said that his Office has evaluated and made recommendations on the regime’s preventive detention centers and called for the release of political prisoners: “We remain ready to accompany the police and judicial reforms underway to support compliance with human rights standards. applicable. Of the cases shared through our cooperation mechanisms, 152 detainees have been released since June 2020. I reiterate my call for the full release of all those arbitrarily detained, and I welcome the acquittal of Jaulio Bratar ”.
In addition, she lamented the hardships of the population in the context of the economic crisis, since incomes remain dramatically low and insufficient to guarantee an adequate standard of living, which affects food and education. “The pre-existing humanitarian and economic situation was aggravated both by the covid-19 pandemic and by sector sanctions, further limiting access to basic services. I reiterate my call for these sanctions to be lifted, ”she said.
In the Bachelet office report, countries are asked to maintain their humanitarian aid to Venezuela, particularly with regard to the pandemic, and to ensure a fair distribution of the vaccines, which have been widely available in the countries. rich to the detriment of the poor.
Bachelet announced that last Friday the agreement between his office and the Venezuelan government was renewed so that specialized UN human rights personnel can work in the country. Thanks to this last understanding, the observers of his entity in Venezuela have gone from six to twelve.
“I am confident that the political dialogue currently taking place in Mexico can lead to meaningful solutions and translate into further advances for the protection of human rights,” he concluded, referring to the process of dialogue between Chavismo and the opposition.
Afghanistan and China
In other aspects of her speech, the High Commissioner denounced that the new Taliban regime in Afghanistan is failing to fulfill its promises to respect women’s human rights and to grant amnesty to people related to the previous US-supported government.
In her report, she assured that in a month of Taliban control “women have been progressively excluded from public space.” Girls over the age of twelve have already been banned from attending school in many parts of the country, and numerous women’s protection departments in the country have been dismantled, while their staff was threatened, she denounced.
Bachelet also regretted not having “significant access” to the Chinese region of Xinjiang, where the Muslim Uighur ethnic group lives, and said for the first time that his office is “finalizing the evaluation of the information available on complaints of serious human rights violations. in this region, to make it public ”.
China refuses to carry out an investigation in Xinjiang. The United States, based on studies by Western researchers, accuses China of having interned more than a million Uyghurs in “camps” in the region. Beijing denies this figure and claims that they are “vocational training centers.”
The environmental crisis
The intensifying environmental threats constitute “the most important challenge for the exercise of human rights of our era,” said Bachelet, calling on politicians to take action.
“Interdependent crises linked to pollution, climate change and biodiversity multiply threats, amplifying conflicts, tensions and structural inequalities, and making people increasingly vulnerable,” he said.
Bachelet stressed that this “triple planetary crisis”, largely caused by human action, already has a broad and direct impact on a whole series of human rights, such as “the rights to adequate food, water, and education. , to housing, health, development and even life ”.
Pollution “is the cause of one in six premature deaths,” he stressed. Bachelet listed a list of environmental crises including, among others, the famine in Madagascar, desertification in the Sahel, water shortages in the Middle East, fires in Siberia and California, and floods in China and Germany.
“Addressing the triple global environmental crisis is imperative” and “achievable,” he said.