What the OAS Human Rights Commission said today

December 12, 2002

This is a press report of what was said today  by the Organization of American States’ Human Rights Commission. It is nice to know somebody outside has an understanding of what is going on.


 The boldface is mine:


WASHINGTON, Dec 12 (Reuters) – A group attached to the Organization of American States (OAS) on Thursday issued a strong statement urging Venezuela to do more to stem a worsening human rights situation.

The Human Rights Commission, part of the 34-member OAS, said in a statement it was “extremely worried with the worsening of the crisis in Venezuela, characterized by violence, intolerance and a generalized lack of confidence in the institutions of the State.”

Tensions are running high in Venezuela as an 11-day strike by the opposition has cut into vital oil production. The opposition is looking to force out leftist president Hugo Chavez.

Efforts by the OAS’s secretary general, Cesar Gaviria, to broker a peaceful solution to the crisis have so far proved fruitless, despite strong backing from the United States and other Latin American states.

The commission condemned attacks against the independent media and expressed concern over the rise of violent armed civil groups which it said operated with impunity.

It also blasted a decision by a takeover by the military of the Caracas city police from the capital’s anti-Chavez mayor, saying it was “a decision of doubtful legality.”

It was that move which triggered the strike.

The commission said it was “profoundly worried about the systematic attacks against human rights activists” and accused the government of stalling on setting a date for a new human rights’ mission to visit Venezuela.

A previous visit in May concluded Venezuela’s justice system lacked independence and free speech was limited.


 

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