(CNSNews.com) – The U.N. Human Rights Council has finally adopted a resolution on the crisis in Venezuela, but one that neither details human rights abuses occurring in the country nor attributes them to anyone.
Instead it urges the socialist Maduro regime to accept humanitarian assistance from outside, and to cooperate with U.N. human rights entities.
A close observer of the Geneva-based HRC described the resolution adopted Thursday as “one of the most feeble” country-specific texts adopted in the council’s 12-year history.
Despite the nebulous wording, Venezuela opposed the resolution, which it sought to blame on the U.S. and Israel – despite the fact neither the U.S. nor Israel are members of the HRC.
Also voting “no” were six other members of the council, none of them free democracies – Burundi, China, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt and Pakistan.
Another 17 of the council’s members abstained. The text therefore passed with the support of fewer than half of the HRC’s 47 member-states.
The Trump administration over the summer withdrew from the HRC, citing among other problems the fact that its membership includes countries with poor human rights records.
The resolution adopted Thursday did not blame President Nicolás Maduro’s government, or anyone else, for what it called “serious human rights violations in a context of a political, economic, social and humanitarian crisis.”
It did call on the government “to accept humanitarian assistance in order to address the scarcity of food, medicine and medical supplies, the rise of malnutrition, especially among children, and the outbreak of diseases …”
In explaining why his government rejected the “hostile initiative,” Venezuelan ambassador Jorge Valero said it falsely presented what is happening as a humanitarian crisis.
Venezuelans were suffering, he charged, as a result of sanctions and foreign interference.
He said the resolution ran contrary to the principles of international law and sovereignty and constituted interference in Venezuela’s domestic affairs.
Without explanation, Valero also tried to link the initiative with the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
He did so, first, by accusing the countries behind the Venezuela resolution of acting at the behest of “the U.S. and Israel.”
Then, Valero went on to observe that some of the countries pushing the Venezuela text had not supported a U.N. General Assembly resolution which passed last December by a 128-9 vote, declaring President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “null and void.”
In this respect he named Honduras and Guatemala – which were among the nine “no” votes on the Jerusalem resolution in the General Assembly – as well as Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia and Paraguay, which abstained.
“They are the self-same states which are now submitting this resolution against Venezuela.”
‘A crime with no perpetrator’
Critics blame the Maduro regime’s economic and political policies for impoverishing the oil-rich country and triggering an exodus of some 2.3 million people – seven percent of the population – fleeing deprivation, a lack of food and medicine, as well as political repression.
U.N. Watch, a Geneva-based non-governmental organization that has been advocating for Venezuela to be expelled from the HRC, criticized the resolution, with executive director Hillel Neuer calling it “one of the most feeble texts on a country situation ever to be adopted in the council’s history.”
“Though some argue that the sponsors needed to water down the resolution to win a majority in a council populated by numerous non-democracies close to Caracas,” he said, “the result is an embarrassing text that covers up the Maduro regime’s gross abuses.”
Neuer observed that the text does not identify the human rights violations taking place, making no mention of arbitrary arrests, the jailing of opposition leaders, or the deaths of protestors.
Neither does it lay the blame for the abuses on the regime.
“We have a crime with no perpetrator.”
U.N. Watch noted that the resolution also does not call for Venezuela to be suspended from the HRC, in line with article eight of the council’s founding resolution.
Under that provision, the U.N. General Assembly in a two-thirds majority vote can suspend a HRC member for “gross and systematic violations of human rights.”