HomeLatest NewsHuman Rights Council Member Venezuela Using Sexual Violence To Silence Dissidents

Human Rights Council Member Venezuela Using Sexual Violence To Silence Dissidents

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On Tuesday, the United Nations Independent International Fact-Finding Mission (FFMV), released a report detailing how Nicolas Maduro’s socialist regime — currently holding a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council – used its intelligence and military services to commit crimes against humanity.

This new report, the third by the Independent Fact-Finding Mission, describes how Maduro and other high-ranking officials of the regime devised and executed plans to suppress opposition to their rule. It also includes the use of brutal, inhumane, and degrading treatment.

The United Nations has a history of verifying human rights violations and other crimes committed by member states, then failing to take any action. This includes failing to remove privileges like seats on selected agencies such as the Human Rights Council. U.N. experts had previously accused Maduro, a Maduro-led regime, of crimes against humanity.

Maduro still holds that seat, despite not being Venezuela’s legal president since 2019, when the National Assembly used its constitutional power to swear in Juan Guaido, a legitimate but weak — President of Venezuela.

This latest report, which was published on the first day U.N. General Assembly’s top-level debate, didn’t change the Maduro regime’s position in the organization. Venezuela will continue to hold its place on the Human Rights Council in 2020-2022. A Maduro regime delegation is scheduled to attend the General Assembly in support of Guaido representatives.

The Fact-Finding Mission was not allowed to enter Venezuela by the Maduro regime. Its findings were based on 246 confidential interviews with victims, their families and ex-members of Maduro’s intelligence and security agencies.

The report examines the actions of two components of Maduro’s intelligence apparatus. These are the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service, (SEBIN), which is stated to have “the objective of identifying political disidents and activists as well as other men or women perceived as being contrary to the Government” and the General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence(DGCIM), “which is aimed at military personnel as well as civilians who may be involved in rebellions and coup attempts.”

Marta Valinas (chair of the Fact-Finding Mission), stated in a September 20 press release that “our investigations and analyses show that Venezuelan State relies upon the intelligence services to repress any dissent within the country.”

The Fact-Finding Mission discovered that Maduro’s DGCIM (and SEBIN) have used extensive sexual and gender-based violence since at least 2014.

The report also identified cases in which detainees were subject to forced disappearances for short periods, as well as cases where citizens were beaten with blunt and pointed objects and tortured with electric shocks.

“The intelligence agencies also subjected dissidents, both women and men, to sexual violence. This included rape with body part or objects, threats of rape towards the detained person or their loved one, forced nudity as well as beatings or electric shocks to the female genitals. Francisco Cox, one member of the Mission, stated that these acts of sexual violence constitute torture or cruelly inhumane or degrading treatment.

The report concluded that Maduro’s human right crimes were still “grave.”

The Fact-Finding Mission suggested to the international community that states “consider bringing legal action against individuals liable for the violations or crimes identified in this Report, in accordance their applicable domestic legislation.”

As part of its 51st session agenda, the United Nations Human Rights Council will discuss the findings from the Independent Fact-Finding Mission.

Maduro is not expected to attend the General Assembly, but a representative from his regime will address the audience.

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