CARACAS, Tuesday November 13, 2012 | Update
OPINION | About Venezuela's entry into the UN Human Rights Council

A Member State with an awful background

The United Nations Council that champions and advocates human rights has Venezuela among its members, a systematic offender of the rule of law and human dignity

Tuesday November 13, 2012  03:37 PM
Venezuela's entry into the United Nations Human Rights Council, as part of the group of countries that geographically represent Latin America and the Caribbean, is a blow, not as much to the decadent international system of States in apparent crisis for two decades, but to the founding principles of the United Nations.

Still, it betrays the memory of the Holocaust and thousand victims of the Great Wars of the 20th Century. It is disrespect for the obligation of States and Governments to abide by the pro homine et libertatis principle and nevermore under the pro principe paradigm.

Interestingly, when the UN Human Rights Council was created in 2006 to replace the old-fashioned, much criticized and weakened Commission on Human Rights, the current Venezuelan Government would not support the initiative. Now, it shows up as casual as it likes, and it is elected by the General Assembly, after having departed from the Inter-American Human Rights System, thus violating the internal constitutional rules binding upon it and embedding the American Convention in the fundamental architecture of Venezuela.

Therefore, from now on, the UN Council that champions and advocates human rights has Venezuela among its members, a systematic offender of the rule of law and human dignity.

Yet another event also speaks very badly of such election. For a decade, the Government of President Hugo Chávez awarded a human rights prize by dictator Muammar Kaddafi and an ally with the most ominous dictatorships remaining in the world- has failed to submit any report to the Human Rights Council. It does not brief the organ composed of independent experts and enforcing the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, on its performance of such a critical instrument of the UN.  And the Human Rights Council, including Cuba until recently, deplores in a report extrajudicial executions, torture and excessive use of force by military officers and police agents; poor prison conditions; lack of independence of the judiciary, traffic of women; the situation of street children, and government involvement in trade unions, among other wonders.

The Human Rights Council suffers today from the same cancer that doomed its predecessor to demise. It is bad news for the humankind. Most serious and concerning, as lately noted by ex Brazilian President Fernando Enrique Cardozo, is the vote or silence kept by democratic governments of Latin America and the world.

Translated by Conchita Delgado

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