The United Nations has warned on Tuesday that the Venezuelan State is using its intelligence services to repress dissidence in the country, which is a clear violation of human rights even comparable to crimes against humanity.
“This leads to the commission of serious crimes and violations of Human Rights, including acts of torture and sexual violence. These practices must stop immediately and those responsible must be investigated and prosecuted in accordance with the law,” said Marta Valiñas, chair of the UN fact-finding mission to Venezuela.
Specifically, the mission has highlighted that both the General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM) and the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN) carried out attacks starting in 2014 against opponents, some resulting in crimes against humanity.
Thus, the United Nations has documented 122 cases of victims who were subjected to torture, sexual violence and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment by DGCIM agents at one of its headquarters in Caracas, as well as in covert detention centers throughout the country.
For its part, SEBIN has allegedly committed torture or ill-treatment against detainees — protesters, journalists or politicians — with at least 51 cases having been investigated by the UN since 2014. In this regard, the UN clarifies that the orders were issued by high-level authorities.
“Crimes against humanity, committed through State intelligence agencies, orchestrated by individuals at the highest levels of authority, have taken place in a climate of almost total impunity. The international community must do everything possible to ensure that the rights of the victims to justice and reparation are guaranteed,” said Francisco Cox, one of the mission members.
On the other hand, the United Nations has explained the situation in the state of Bolivar, in the south of the country, where state and non-state actors have allegedly committed a series of violations and crimes against local populations, especially in mining areas where the gold trade operates.
These crimes include arbitrary deprivations of life, disappearances, extortion, corporal punishment, and sexual and gender-based violence. Thus, the mission has underlined that there is “connivance” between these actors and the state of Bolivar.
In the area, heavily militarized and “forgotten”, criminal armed groups operate to control mines and other strategic resources. The United Nations has described the situation as “deeply worrying” because the region generates “licit and illicit wealth”.
“Local populations, including indigenous peoples, are caught in a violent battle between state actors and criminal armed groups for control of the gold,” explained Patricia Tappatá Valdez, another member of the UN mission in Venezuela.