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UN finds excessive use of force against demonstrators in Venezuela

At least 46 casualties during the demonstrations against Nicolás Maduro’s government are attributable to the State security corps, according to an analysis from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

La protesta se llevó a cabo en las cercanías de la plaza Francia

AFP

09 de agosto de 2017 05:35 AM

Actualizado el 09 de agosto de 2017 05:54 AM

PARA COMPARTIR

According to the UN agency, “security forces (...) have systematically used disproportionate force. (...) Government authorities have rarely condemned such incidents.”

“Several of the individuals interviewed said tear gas canisters were used at shortrange, and marbles, buckshot and nuts and bolts were used as ammunition.”

The United Nations denounced on Tuesday “widespread and systematic use of excessive force and arbitrary detentions against demonstrators in Venezuela,” in addition to at least 5,000 arbitrary detentions, during which many people suffered torture.
 
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) produced a preliminary report on the Venezuela’s case. Data collected include 135 witness attestations from Geneva and Panama, given the Venezuelan government denial to the requests from the UN agency to visit the country, Efe reported.

The analysis found a “clear pattern” of excessive use of force against demonstrators since the wave of protests began in April. According to the team in charge of the analysis, the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB), the Bolivarian National Police (PNB) and local police agents are liable for the excess.

According to the UN agency, “Witness accounts suggest that security forces, mainly the National Guard, the National Police and local police forces, have systematically used disproportionate force to instill fear, crush dissent, and to prevent demonstrators from assembling, rallying and reaching public institutions to present petitions. Government authorities have rarely condemned such incidents.”

“Witnesses spoke of security forces firing tear gas and buckshot at anti-Government protestors without warning. Several of the individuals interviewed said tear gas canisters were used at shortrange, and marbles, buckshot and nuts and bolts were used as ammunition. Security forces have reportedly also resorted to the use of deadly force against demonstrators.”

Based on the findings, at least 46 casualties during the demonstrations against Nicolás Maduro’s government are attributable to the State security corps.

“Several thousand people have been arbitrarily detained, many reportedly subjected to ill-treatment and even torture, while several hundred have been brought before military rather than civilian courts,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.

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