Photo: UN Multimedia


19 de May, 2017

Photo: UN MultimediaSpokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Rupert Colville

Location: Geneva

Subject: Venezuela (summary of responses to questions):

We very much regret the continued loss of lives during the political unrest. The latest figure we have is the one given out on 17  May by the Attorney General who confirmed 42 deaths in the context of the protests.

We welcome her announcement that the deaths will be investigated — and we believe it is important they are properly investigated. There are allegations of excessive use of force by security forces, so we stress again the importance of them operating in accordance with international human rights standards. With regard to reports of violence by armed groups, it is the responsibility of the state to protect the population from armed groups, and from the proliferation of weapons.

We also urge demonstrators to protest peacefully.

We are very concerned by the reports that people detained during the protests are being brought before military tribunals. Civilians taking part in protests should not be put before military tribunals. If they are accused legitimately of some kind of crime they should be appearing before civilian courts.

On the issue of Mr. Henrique Capriles allegedly being prevented from leaving Venezuela, we can confirm he was due to meet the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, in New York today. On hearing the news last night, Zeid stated [on Twitter] that he had been hoping to see Mr. Capriles at the UN in New York, and regretted that he had been unable to travel. The High Commissioner added that he hopes that the incident is not a reprisal linked to the planned meeting with him in New York today.

The High Commissioner will go ahead with a meeting this afternoon in New York with Mr. Capriles’s lawyer who we understand wishes to share a report that Mr. Capriles had himself been planning to present to the High Commissioner today.

We find the rising tensions in Venezuela very alarming, and incidents like that involving Mr. Capriles yesterday are unlikely to help reduce tensions.


For more information and media requests, please contact Rupert Colville (+41 22 917 97 67 / or Ravina Shamdasani (+41 22 917 9169 /

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