The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] on Friday condemned the recent political violence in Venezuela, and urged all parties involved to move towards meaningful dialogue in hopes of resolving the situation. In an official statement [press release], Pillay expressed serious concern at the amount of violence that has taken place since the unrest began, as officials have reported 13 deaths and another 140 injuries since the beginning of the conflict. Pillay urged the government of Venezuela to respect freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, stating:
The inflammatory rhetoric from all sides is utterly unhelpful and risks escalating the tense situation in the country... It is time for all sides to move beyond verbal aggression and towards meaningful dialogue. This crisis will only be resolved if the human rights of all Venezuelans are respected.It is unclear whether the Venezuelan government will respond to Pillay's plea.
The statement by Pillay comes only two weeks after the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights called on [JURIST report] all parties involved in the protests to open dialogue to resolve the situation in response to three deaths that had occurred earlier that week. Such violent demonstrations have been partially motivated by Venezuela's current economic difficulties [BBC backgrounder] and disdain towards current President Nicolas Maduro [official website, in Spanish]. In September Venezuela withdrew [JURIST report] from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights despite criticism from activists and calls by the UN [JURIST report] for the country to remain a member. In August the Supreme Court of Venezuela dismissed a lawsuit [JURIST report] by candidate Henrique Capriles challenging the results of the presidential election that placed Maduro as the successor to Hugo Chavez [JURIST news archive].