Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

The OHCHR is the principal human rights entity of the United Nations. Its functions include promoting and protecting all human rights, helping to empower people, and developing a human rights perspective in all United Nations programs. The current United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights is Mr. Volker Türk.

News from the OHCHR:

– On July 4, 2023, the OHCHR published a new country report concerning the human rights situation in Venezuela. The report covers the period between May 1, 2022, and April 30, 2023, focusing mainly on the latest developments related to economic, social, cultural, and environmental rights, the rule of law and civic space, as well as the degree of implementation of recommendations made in previous reports. In the report, the OHCHR noted that even though the country had a growth in gross domestic product of 17.73% in 2022, there are factors that continue to negatively affect essential public services. One of such factors, according to the OHCHR, is the imposition of economic sanctions.

In terms of the education system, it was observed that the coronavirus pandemic has significantly affected the sector, including difficulties in meeting the minimum conditions for quality education, problems of insufficient funding, infrastructure, nutrition, working conditions and poor salaries for teachers. Regarding the health sector, the OHCHR found that 560,000 children between 12 and 23 months have not received vaccines, including rubella. In addition, sexual and reproductive health services, such as obstetric care, are basically unavailable or inaccessible.

On the other hand, on the right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment, Venezuela was found to be responsible for less than 1% of current global emissions, yet is highly exposed to the consequences of climate change, such as torrential rains, which have contributed to flash floods and human tragedies.

The report also covers several key issues, such as labor rights, the situation of people in rural areas and indigenous peoples, the independence of the judiciary, gender-based violence, investigations in cases of enforced disappearance, and the rights to liberty and security, among others. The OHCHR finalized its report with an extensive list of conclusions and recommendations, including the need to lift sectoral sanctions that exacerbate pre-existing challenges and limit people’s enjoyment of their human rights. The report can be found here.