The United Nations is showing their blatant hypocrisy once again.
Yesterday, the Human Rights Council began a three-week session. At this first meeting, they had scheduled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to address the council. You read that right – Maduro, who has taken numerous actions that violate the rights of his citizens, was going to discuss human rights.
Reuters reported that Maduro was supposed to speak after U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights ZeidRa’ad al Hussein, who had previously stated that democracy was “barely alive” in Venezuela. Hussein was referencing the Venezuelan government’s brutal treatment of its political opponents. However, it seems the Human Rights Council has had a change of heart.
Last Tuesday, Council spokesman Rolando Gomez announced via email that Maduro would not be addressing the Human Rights Council. Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Alberto Arreaza Montserrat will address the group in Maduro’s stead. Of course, this ignores the fact that Venezuela – along with several other nations – does not belong on a council that supposedly advocates for human rights, and they certainly have no business being given a voice at their sessions. Why? Because their human rights record is atrocious.
Venezuela’s Human Rights Record
Under President Hugo Chavez and current President Nicolas Maduro, the Venezuelan government has routinely violated the human rights of everyday Venezuelans. They have used intimidation and imprisonment to stifle the voices of political dissidents. Human Rights Watch’s 2016 report on the Latin American nation exposed many of the government’s misdeeds:
Under the leadership of President Hugo Chávez and now President Nicolás Maduro, the accumulation of power in the executive branch and erosion of human rights guarantees have enabled the government to intimidate, persecute, and even criminally prosecute its critics.
Severe shortages of medicines, medical supplies, and food have intensified since 2014, and weak government responses have undermined Venezuelans’ rights to health and food. Protesters have been arbitrarily detained and subject to abuse by security forces.
The report goes on to detail the ways in which the Venezuelan government has oppressed its citizens. It discusses the police and military raids against low-income communities. It exposes the fact that victims of the Maduro regime have experienced “poor prison conditions, impunity for human rights violations, and continuous harassment by government officials.”
Earlier this year, Liberty Nation reported how Maduro imprisoned two opposition leaders:
In a move that solidified President Nicolas Maduro’s position as a veritable dictator, Venezuelan security forces raided the homes of opposition leaders Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma last night. Before being dragged from their homes, the two men were under house arrest – Lopez for leading anti-Maduro protests in 2014 and Ledezma for allegedly plotting a coup.
A mere glance at Venezuela’s record will show that the country does not belong on the Human Rights Council. And yet, it appears the United Nations doesn’t see it this way.
The Hypocrisy Of The United Nations
The credibility of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council has been called into question as a result of their inclusion of nations whose governments blatantly oppress their citizens. Along with Venezuela, the Human Rights Council also allows Saudi Arabia, Congo, and Cuba a seat in their organization. Each of these nations are notorious for abusing the rights of their people.
What is interesting is the fact that the Human Rights Council routinely excoriates the State of Israel for their supposed human rights violations against Palestinian terrorists. Anytime Israel retaliates against extremist groups like Hamas, the U.N. is quick to condemn the Jewish state. However, nations that clearly disregard the rights of their citizens are largely ignored by the international organization.
It is a wonder that anyone still takes the United Nations seriously. While the organization was originally founded as an entity that would prevent another World War and protect the oppressed, it seems they have descended into flagrant hypocrisy. It is this approach that makes it easier to understand why the United States might want to cut the funding it sends to the international body – if it is not going to put action to their claims, why should we continue to support them financially? Perhaps it is time to start seriously considering removing the United States from the U.N.
A self-confessed news and political junkie, Jeff’s writing has been featured in Small Business Trends, Business2Community, and The Huffington Post. Born in Southern California and having experienced the 1992 L.A. Riots up close and personal, Jeff's insights are informed by his experiences as a black man and a conservative.
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