UN reports say Venezuelan leaders committing crimes against humanity

A United Nations report released on Tuesday alleged that the Venezuelan government is committing crimes against humanity against its own citizens.

The 20-page report, conducted by the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (FFMV), alleged that members of Venezuelan intelligence services have been committing crimes against humanity under the orders of President Nicolás Maduro in order to suppress opposition. 

The report claimed that the Directorate General of Military Counterintelligence was responsible for 122 incidents of victims who were subjected to torture, sexual assault, or other cruel, inhuman, or humiliating treatment.

“These practices must stop immediately, and the individuals responsible must be investigated and prosecuted in accordance with the law,” said Marta Valiñas, head of the UN FFMV.

According to the FFMV, the conclusions in the report were based on 246 private interviews with victims, their relatives, and former security and intelligence service officials that were conducted both in-person and remotely over secure telephone or video conferences.

FFMV said that the victims included “opposition politicians, journalists, protesters, and human rights defenders,” and added that most of the abuse had taken place in the El Helicoide detention center in Caracas.

The report listed torture techniques, including electric shocks, asphyxiation, and stress positions. Former personnel had told the investigators that in some instances, “torture was ordered directly by President Maduro.”

“We urge the international community to continue to follow developments in Venezuela closely and to monitor whether credible progress is being made in advancing justice, accountability, and respect for human rights,” said Valiñas.”

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