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UN rights chief: 4.7M have left Venezuela

Human rights head hails deal with Caracas allowing probe on justice, security, prison bodies on detention without trial

18.12.2019
UN rights chief: 4.7M have left Venezuela Venezuelan migrants take the road to Peru on foot after resting for a few days in Colombia, in Tunja, Boyaca, in December, 2018.

GENEVA 

The UN estimates that 4.7 million Venezuelans have abandoned the country since 2014, with the total projected to reach 6.5. million by the end of 2020, the UN high commissioner for human rights announced Wednesday. 

Giving an "oral update on the human rights situation" in Venezuela prior to a Human Rights Council session in Geneva, Michelle Bachelet said her office welcomed an agreement with the Venezuelan authorities to allow the collection of information from the justice, security and the prison bodies on people detained without trial.

"In the last three months, my office has carried out nine visits to detention centers managed by the Ministry for Penitentiary Services and the Ministry of Defense," said Bachelet, with the high commissioner's office obtaining information on torture investigations, extrajudicial killings and preventive detention.

She added that her team managed to confidentially interview more than 70 people deprived of their liberty in detention centers run by civilian and military intelligence services.

"I would like to mention the release in September and October of 28 persons -- 24 men and four women -- deprived of their liberty for political reasons.

"I encourage the authorities to free unconditionally all persons detained for political reasons, including military staff," Bachelet added.

Since the beginning of the year, Venezuela has been embroiled in political unrest as President Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaido have engaged in a power battle, while the country's economy has been in precipitous decline following a global downturn in the price of crude oil.

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