Venezuela Demands Suspension of UN Human Rights Office and Orders Staff to Depart Within Days, UN Reports

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The United Nations (UN) expressed “deep concern” over the detention of Venezuelan rights activist Rocio San Miguel and called for her immediate release. However, Venezuela has ordered the local UN human rights office to suspend operations and given its staff 72 hours to leave, accusing the office of promoting opposition to the South American country.

Foreign Affairs Minister Yvan Gil announced the decision at a news conference in the capital Caracas, stating that the UN rights office had been used by the international community to maintain a discourse against Venezuela.

The move came two days after the UN agency expressed concern over San Miguel’s detention and called for her release. The Venezuelan government accused the UN rights office of taking on an “inappropriate role” and becoming “the private law firm of the coup plotters and terrorists who permanently conspire against the country”.

In response to Venezuela’s decision, the UN human rights office stated that it is deeply concerned and called for the respect of due process guarantees, including the right to legal defense in San Miguel’s case.

San Miguel, a prominent rights activist, was arrested last Friday in Caracas and has been accused of taking part in an alleged plot to assassinate President Nicolas Maduro. The UN has urged for her immediate release and respect for her right to legal defense.

The Venezuelan government has also announced a holistic review of the technical cooperation terms with the UN rights office, which will take place over the next 30 days.

The detention of San Miguel is seen by international rights groups as part of a coordinated plan to silence government critics and perceived opponents.

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