24/06/2018 – Jamaica Gleaner. / Venezuelan security forces have carried out hundreds of arbitrary killings under the guise of fighting crime, the UN’s human rights body says.
In a report, it cites “shocking” accounts of young men being killed during operations, often in poor districts, over the past three years, the BBC reported.
According to the BBC, the UN’s human rights chief said no-one was being held to account, suggesting the rule of law was “virtually absent”.
Venezuela has in the past dismissed human rights allegations as “lies”. The country is going through a protracted political and economic crisis.
The BBC report said the UN Human Rights Office alleges that extra-judicial killings were carried out by officers involved with the Operations for the Liberation of the People, ostensibly a crime-reduction initiative.
These officers may have killed more than 500 people since July 2015 as a way to showcase crime-reduction results, it says. They are alleged to have faked evidence to make it look as though the victims died in exchanges of fire.
UN investigators have been denied access to Venezuela. They made their findings from interviews with about 150 witnesses and victims contacted through “internet-based technologies”, the report says.
A number of interview with exiles were also held in Geneva, it adds. Some of the other evidence comes from former Attorney General Luisa Ortega. She was fired by Mr Maduro last year and went into exile.
The report says that under her replacement, investigations into allegations of abuses have virtually stopped.