Rights activists hail Venezuela’s departure from UN Human Rights Council
As the US and Russia prepare to formally withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council, Venezuela has formally left the forum.
In a formal statement, the country denounced the United Nations for undermining human rights and “violating its own rules.”
Russia first requested that the US, the European Union and Russia withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council, which it described as a “political decision.” But the request was denied. As a consequence, the US and EU members of the Council have until the end of 2014 to either seek to replace Russia on the Council with China or a country that supports “the values and principles of international human rights law.”
Venezuela first joined the council in 1993, making it the first openly Marxist-oriented country to do so.
Since then, the country has repeatedly slammed the council for its lack of independence, especially over the last two decades as governments of right-wing governments within the council.
“We have been proud to be part of the Council, since the first time, we were members,” Venezuelan ambassador to the UN Mariel Pérez told reporters Friday. “We have been faithful to the criteria that the UN has laid out for the Council, and we defend all those rights that we believe are necessary to guarantee the human rights of people all over the world.”
Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin said Russia will “continue to express its opposition to decisions on the Human Rights Council which infringe on the rights of all humankind, to the principles which guide the functioning of the UN, and to the Council’s decision that Russia is not a party to any country’s case in the council.”
“Russia is ready to support the Council’s decisions relating to the rights of all countries,” Ambassador Churkin said.
Meanwhile, US Ambassador Elizabeth Economy said the US will work with Russia in seeking to “implement a positive change in the UN Human Rights Council.”
“We will work with our partners on constructive efforts, including those aimed at strengthening the