Government security forces in Venezuela carry out unjustified killings without any apparent consequences as the rule of law in the country quickly vanishes, a United Nations report charged Friday, drawing a rejection from Caracas.
The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said Venezuelan officers accused in some 500 questionable killings appear to be evading any charges. That is a sign that checks and balances have been chiseled away, leaving state authorities unaccountable, said Zeid Raad Al Hussein, the high commissioner.
The report highlights the case early this year in which rebel police officer Oscar Perez and six in his group were shot to death as they tried to surrender. U.N. officials say they believe the group was executed on orders from top government officials in violation of their basic rights.
“The rule of law is virtually absent in Venezuela,” Zeid said in the report. “The impunity must end.”
Venezuela rejected the report as “grotesque media farce” that omits information officials in Caracas provided to investigators. The findings are part of an international push against Venezuela led by United States officials, the ministry said.
“Venezuela reiterates its unrelenting commitment to human rights set out in Venezuela’s Constitution and international treaties,” officials in Caracas said in a statement.
However, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “believes that the numbers are truly shocking,” deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said later Friday at U.N. headquarters. He said Guterres believes the report “attests to the need for political dialogue and a fully inclusive political solution” to the problems roiling Venezuela.
Venezuela is in the grips of a deepening political and economic crisis marked by food and medicine shortages and soaring inflation that has driven thousands to flee the country.