WASHINGTON – The Organization of American States (OAS) says St Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica were the only two Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries to vote on Wednesday, against a resolution on the “Human Rights Situation in Venezuela”.
Nicaragua also joined the two CARICOM countries in voting against the resolution that was approved by the OAS’s Permanent Council.
Five CARICOM member-states were among seven that also abstained from the vote. Those abstaining were: Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Mexico, St Kitts and Nevis, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.
The OAS said Antigua and Barbuda and Grenada, as well as Uruguay were absent for the vote.
Five CARICOM member-states voted, among 21 countries, in favour of the resolution: The Bahamas, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica and St Lucia.
The others which voted in favour of the resolution were: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, United States, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic and Venezuela.
The OAS said the Permanent Council approved the resolution which strongly condemns “the grave and systematic violations of human rights in Venezuela, including the use of torture, illegal and arbitrary detentions, extrajudicial executions, forced disappearances and the denial of the most basic rights and necessities, especially those related to health, food and education”.
According to the OAS, the resolution demands “an independent exhaustive and credible investigation that makes it possible to bring the perpetrators and masterminds of the human rights violations to justice”.
The resolution also resolves “to demand immediate and unhindered access for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to Venezuela,” and “to foster the strengthening of cooperation between the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to monitor the human rights situation in Venezuela”.
During the meeting, OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro affirmed that “the OAS General Secretariat does not find it possible to ignore the denunciations and testimonies presented by Venezuelans who suffer the persecution of the regime.
“We understand the legal and moral obligation to criminally investigate these cases,” he said.
Almagro also noted “the importance of opening an international criminal investigation within the framework of the International Criminal Court to determine individual responsibility for the crimes that have been committed in the country”. (CMC)