UN Human Rights Council 42 UK Explanation of Vote on Venezuela

Julian Braithwaite

We would like to thank the Lima Group for showing leadership on this issue and bringing a resolution to the Council that is a measured, proportionate and necessary response to the severe human rights crisis in Venezuela. We are pleased that this resolution aims to establish an independent international mechanism to carry out an investigation and we urge the Venezuelan authorities to cooperate fully with the Fact Finding Mission which is foreseen.

We have heard Venezuela and others argue that this resolution politicises the work of the Council. But it is precisely to improve human rights, including by addressing situations of concern that this Council and its mechanisms exist.

We have also heard [Venezuela claim / arguments] that the response proposed in this resolution is somehow disproportionate, or that steps should be ‘more incremental’. But the United Kingdom believes that the action taken at this Council in response to the human rights crisis in Venezuela has been considered; it has been deliberate; and it has been entirely appropriate.

The Lima Group first brought the crisis in Venezuela to the Council’s attention at its 39th session and requested the High Commissioner to report back on the situation. The report, which was presented this session was damning. It highlighted human rights violations of an extremely grave nature committed by the Maduro regime, including thousands of extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions and torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment. It must be clear to all at this Council that when violations of this gravity and scale are reported to us, we must respond in an equally serious manner. It is for this reason that the resolution proposes a Fact Finding Mission in order establish what has been taking place in greater detail and to make recommendations so that such violations will cease.

Mr President, the millions of people who have suffered – and continue to suffer – human rights violations in Venezuela are looking to us, in this room, right now, to demonstrate that we stand in solidarity with them. To demonstrate that we will not ignore their pain, or their grief. And that this Council can help them to establish the truth and to achieve justice.

For these reasons, the UK will vote Yes on draft resolution L.4 and we urge all members of the Council to do the same.

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