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UN: Killings and torture continue in Venezuela

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — Extrajudicial killings are likely to continue in Venezuela and special forces believed to be responsible are receiving support from the highest levels of government, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Monday.

Bachelet informed the UN Human Rights Council that, in addition to possible executions, her office had documented cases of torture of soldiers and other detainees arbitrarily, and urged the government of President Nicolas Maduro to punish the perpetrators.

Bachelet, who issued a report in early July detailing witness accounts of death squads supervised by special forces, said the Observatory of Victims, a non-governmental organization, had discovered 57 new possible executions by Special Forces personnel in Caracas that month.

The Government described the Commissioner’s previous report as “selective and clearly part-time”, ignoring official information and relying on accounts of malicious witnesses.

Bachelet also expressed concern about US sanctions aimed at pressuring Maduro to step down. She said on Monday that the sanctions were among the factors that contribute significantly to the mass exodus from the country suffering from high inflation and the collapse of the economy.

“All of this is exacerbating the humanitarian situation and the migration of Venezuelans from the country,” she said, noting that 4.3 million refugees and migrants have already fled the country, most since the end of 2015.

Washington has urged the European Union to join the sanctions, saying it would help advance negotiations on handing over power to opposition leader Juan Guido, who declared himself interim president in January.

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