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Wed Sep 11, 2013, 09:25 PM

Venezuela Pulls Out of Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Ecuador May Follow

Venezuela Pulls Out of Rights Body It Calls 'Tool' of US Imperialsm
- Andrea Germanos, staff writer

Venezuela left the Inter-American Court of Human Rights on Tuesday, a body President Nicolas Maduro decried as "a tool for U.S. geopolitical interests and for persecuting progressive goverments."

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro. (Photo: Sec. de Comunicación - Presidencia Uruguay/cc/flickr)The human rights court is affiliated with the Organization of American States (OAS), a body other leftist-led nations in the region, including Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua, have been critics of, Al Jazeera notes.

Venezuela's decision to leave the body was originally made by Hugo Chavez last year, and on Monday Maduro said that it was the "best decision" that Chavez could have made.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Elías Jaua said the country wouldn't rethink the decision unless the body undergoes a transformation, and called the court "Arms of the empire to attack Venezuela."

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OAS Human Rights Bodies “Protectors of the Powerful” says Venezuela as It Officially Withdraws from IACHR

Merida, 11th September 2013 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan foreign minister Elias Jaua has defended the government's decision to withdraw from the human rights bodies of the Organisation of American States (OAS), arguing that “ordinary citizens” have been neglected by the international institutions.

On Tuesday, Venezuela’s withdrawal from the American Human Rights Convention (ACHR) became official, meaning the country will no longer recognise the jurisdiction of the OAS affiliated Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACrtHR) and Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). Confirmation came a year to the day since the OAS secretary general received a formal letter of complaint from the Venezuelan foreign ministry criticising the conduct of the two regional human rights bodies.

“After a year there has not been a single correction (to address the Venezuelan government's criticisms of the IACrtHR and IACHR) despite the efforts of our sister countries, the governments in Ecuador and Bolivia, which have taken on the task of transforming the inter-American system,” Jaua stated.

“We confirm that sovereign decision (to withdraw),” he affirmed.

On Tuesday, spokesperson for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Rupert Colville condemned the move.

“Regrettably, this withdrawal becomes effective today. We want to repeat our concern that this decision may have a very negative impact on human rights in the country and beyond,” Colville said, according to a UN statement.

Among other international human rights groups, Amnesty International has also hit out at the withdrawal, labelling it a “a serious setback for the rights of Venezuelans”.

However, according to Jaua, both the OAS bodies failed to condemn human rights abuses allegedly committed under consecutive Venezuelan governments prior to the election of former president Hugo Chavez; including the alleged 1990/1 killing of around 50 students by Caracas police.

He argued that previous governments had repeatedly violated the rights of Venezuelans with impunity.

“Unfortunately, the Venezuelan people never had protection under the international guardianship of human rights [bodies],” Jaua stated on Tuesday. Speaking to Venezuelan media, he argued that the two bodies have “overreached” during both the presidency of Chavez and current Maduro government. However, he also stated that the IACrtHR has failed to rule “in favour of any ordinary (Venezuelan) citizen”.

“The Commission and the Inter-American Court of Justice have never been guarantors of justice, but protectors of the powerful,” he tweeted on Tuesday.

He also criticised OAS handling of the 2002 coup that temporarily ousted Chavez from power, along with the case of Luis Posada Carriles, who is wanted in Venezuela under terrorism charges. Carriles currently lives in Miami, and calls for his extradition have been rejected by the United States. The US is a member state of the OAS, but has not ratified the ACHR. In 2002, neither the IACrtHR or IACHR condemned the two day coup that claimed around 100 lives.

Jaua also argued that the twin bodies failed to address a wave of violence in the wake of the 14 April elections earlier this year. The government has blamed then opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles for inciting violence.

“The greatest guarantee of the protection of human rights in Venezuela today is the Venezuelan state,” Jaua said.

“We will continue working for the Venezuelan people, the ordinary people, not the powerful corporate sectors, not the corrupt, not terrorists,” he said.

Also known as the Pact of San-Jose, the ACHR first came into force in 1978. The IACrtHR and IACHR are mandated with overseeing compliance with the convention. Venezuela first ratified the ACHR in 1977. Both Chavez and his successor, current president Nicolas Maduro, have criticised the organisations. Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua have likewise been strong critics of the OAS and its affiliated human rights bodies in recent years.

Chavez first announced his intention to withdraw from the OAS affiliated bodies last year. “How long are we going to sit under Damocles’ sword... the IACrtHR is a tool that the United States uses against us,” Chavez told Venezuelan media in April 2012. Then in July, Chavez announced that his administration would immediately cease to recognise the IACrtHR and IACHR.

The announcement came after the IACrtHR issued a ruling that convicted terrorist Raul Diaz Pena was subjected to “inhumane” conditions while imprisoned in Venezuela. Pena had been sentenced to nine years imprisonment by a Venezuelan court, which found that in 2003 he had intended to bomb the Spanish and Colombian embassies in Caracas.

A day before the latest announcement formally confirming Venezuela's withdrawal, Capriles reportedly sent a request to the OAS to declare the April election void.

“The elections, which were fraudulent, must be repeated and the electoral process must be free and fair,” the opposition's Ramon Jose Medina told media after delivering Capriles' request to the OAS.

“The so-called human rights system, the inter-American court and the commission, are by-products of an instrument of persecution against progressive governments that began with President Chavez's arrival," Maduro stated during a press conference on Monday.

“It's reality... the commission responds to the interests of the State Department of the US,” he said.

Maduro described the withdrawal from the convention as “the best decision made by Chavez”.

Published on Sep 11th 2013 at 2.05pm

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unasur ‏@soyunasur 8m

Ecuador podría salir del Sistema Interamericano de Derechos Humanos – http://bit.ly/18RcrRo Los 32 de CELAC deberian salirse del CIDH..

Ecuador could leave the Inter-American Human Rights Convention. The 32 (countries) of CELAC should leave the IACHR.

Back in March, Ecuador had already warned during an OAS session, that it might pull out if the court wasn't reformed to stop being a political tool of the US and if it didn't move its HQs from Washington DC to Latin America. Article is in Spanish.

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Reply Venezuela Pulls Out of Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Ecuador May Follow (Original post)
Catherina Sep 2013 OP
Judi Lynn Sep 2013 #1
Peace Patriot Sep 2013 #2
Socialistlemur Sep 2013 #3

Response to Catherina (Original post)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 01:42 AM

1. Great information. Thank you for posting this for DU'ers.

It's very helpful, reminds us we've heard about this idea for a very long time, and it's a good one! We've seen enough of OAS's contributions to be aware the leaders know exactly what they're talking about with this programmed US-directed organization.

Best wishes for the growing unification of the real American peoples, at long last. We all know it's going to happen.

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Response to Catherina (Original post)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 02:39 AM

2. The U.S. controls the OAS and U.S. bloviations about "human rights" are absurd!

Consider Guantanamo Bay, where hundreds of prisoners still languish with no charges against them, and where some have even been "cleared" for release, but never get released.

Consider U.S. torture dungeons around the world.

Consider the U.S. slaughter of one hundred thousand innocent people in Iraq in the first weeks of "shock and awe" bombing alone.

Consider that NO ONE HAS BEEN HELD ACCOUNTABLE for these and other heinous crimes!

Consider the U.S. larding the Colombian military with $7 BILLION in military aid --one of the worst human rights violators on the planet. Consider the on-going murders of labor leaders, peasant farmers, community activists and other advocates of the poor, and the brutal displacement of FIVE MILLION peasant farmers, in Colombia, as prep for U.S. "free trade for the rich," under the guise of the corrupt, murderous, failed U.S. "war on drugs."

Consider the anonymous drone bombings in Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen and other places, often killing innocent bystanders, and with no legal recourse whatsoever for the "targets" or for the dead.

Consider the vast NSA spying on Americans, in blatant violation of the Constitution and numerous laws.

Consider the federal and state forfeiture laws by which persons stopped for minor traffic violations can lose their money, their cars, their homes, and even lose their children, before they ever see a courtroom.

Consider the rate of incarceration in the U.S. of African-American citizens, with draconian sentences, for minor crimes. Consider the rate of incarceration overall, hellish prison conditions, "privatization" of prisons, and executions of prisoners--the scandal of the civilized world.

Consider the exclusion of the public from electoral vote counting, with the cancer of corporate-run 'TRADE SECRET' voting systems all over the U.S., now monopolized by one, private, far rightwing-connected corporation (ES&S, which bought out Diebold). Not to mention the fascist Voter ID laws.

Consider the unemployment rate and poverty, and on-going segregation, of African-American communities in the U.S.

Consider the disgrace of profit-first health care.

Consider the deterioration of our schools, prisons and other public institutions, once the best in the world, now, in many cases, nightmares of bullying and violence.

Consider some of our allies--Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Israel, Colombia--all gross human rights violators.

The U.S. bloviating about "human rights" is ludicrous. And the U.S. controls the OAS.

The U.S. wants to bring down the socialist government of Venezuela, which has dramatically expanded educational opportunity, dramatically improved workers' wages and benefits and pensions for the elderly, which has brought health care to poor rural and urban poor populations for the first time; which has dramatically expanded human rights in every respect, and which was designated "THE most equal country in Latin America" on income distribution, by the UN Economic Commission on Latin America and the Caribbean." The U.S. refuses to acknowledge Venezuela's last election--in an election system that Jimmy Carter called "the best in the world"--yet one more tactic, like its bogus hot air about "human rights"--to achieve its purpose: destruction of Venezuela's democracy--a REAL democracy, unlike our own--and installation of rightwing leaders who will do U.S. bidding, that is, for instance, turning the oil back over to Exxon Mobil, and getting rid of all these social programs, to make way for corporatization and privatization like we have here.

I completely support this move by Venezuela, and I hope that the rest of Latin America follows suit. Why should Latin America's international organization be based in Washington DC? Why should Latin Americans pay ANY attention to U.S. demands, on human rights or anything else? Why should the U.S. have a say in Latin America AT ALL, on any issue? U.S. hypocrisy has gone beyond the pale into "Alice in Wonderland" madness. And its control of the OAS on this and other matters is a standing insult to Latin American sovereignty--and that insult is bloody well INTENTIONAL, as with the NSA spying on the president of Brazil!

Time for them to move on. They have the people, the resources and the "New Deal"-like policies, overall, to become a prosperous powerhouse of real democracy and real wealth sharing, like we once were. WE are the bad actor in the hemisphere and in the world--not Venezuela, nor any of the other countries with leftist governments in Latin America. THEY genuinely revere human rights. Our government does not. THEY lead with ideas and peaceful trade. Our government leads with its corporate-hijacked military might on a predatory path to resources and domination. They believe in the "rule of law"--passionately and with good reason. Our government BREAKS the law--habeas corpus, gone; privacy, gone; protection from search and seizure, gone; protection from torture, gone; the right to vote, essentially gone--when it isn't using the law to help the uber-rich. Their governments REGULATE corporations and "organized money" (as FDR put it) for the common good. Our government is run BY corporations who are permitted to loot us blind.

I wish it were otherwise. I wish my country stood for human rights, in word and deed. I wish that my country was a partner with social justice governments in Latin America, not their antagonist. I wish that my country was not a threat to democracy, social justice and peace in Latin America. But the record is simply too clear--there is too much evidence--that the U.S. means only ill in Latin America, not good, and acts only in the interests of the rich, here and there, NEVER the poor, NEVER the excluded, NEVER those whose human rights have been so horribly violated, so often with U.S. military and government assistance and support.

When U.S. government officials speak of "human rights" in Latin America, bats and spiders and other creepy-crawling things ought to be flying out of their mouths. It is downright ghoulish.

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Response to Catherina (Original post)

Thu Sep 12, 2013, 09:47 AM

3. Move has been criticized by UN human rights and NGOs such as Amnesty International

This is a reflection of the authoritarian, repressive, and human rights violating nature of the Venezuelan regime. But just before they left they faced almost 20 demands, and they are still subject to the Commission's overview. I also read that, by abandoning the human rights court they violate the Mercosur treaties. Thus the proper response by Mercosur members would be to suspend Venezuela. I doubt they will, which shows Mercosur is becoming irrelevant.

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