Over 50 countries pressed Nicolás Maduro’s dictatorship in Venezuela on Thursday to restore the rule of law and allow humanitarian aid to enter the impoverished socialist country.
In a statement to the U.N. Human Rights Council, Peruvian Ambassador Claudio Julio de la Puente Ribeyro said that the group was “concerned by accounts concerning serious human rights violations that include extrajudicial killings, excessive use of force, arbitrary arrests, torture and ill-treatment, and the lack of access to justice.”
“We call upon Venezuela to recognize the gravity of its situation and to open its doors to humanitarian assistance, to cooperate with the Council’s human rights mechanisms,” he continued.
The Venezuelan ambassador, as well as allies from Cuba and Bolivia, repeatedly interrupted de la Puente Ribeyro as he spoke, and also tried to use procedural objections to prevent him from speaking. The council’s president, Slovenian Ambassador Vojislav Suc, overruled their objections.
Representatives from the United States, who have led the way in imposing economic sanctions on the Maduro regime, were not present at the meeting after their recent decision to pull out of the organization, citing a chronic anti-Israel bias.
The call to action comes amid Venezuela’s worsening humanitarian crisis, where millions of people are now living in abject poverty and on salaries as low as one dollar a month. Amid chronic shortages for basic living resources such as food and medicine, the country is also seeing a rapid rise in malnutrition and health problems.
Last month, Venezuela recorded its first case of polio in over 30 years; newspaper El Nacional has dubbed the growth in untreated health conditions as a “Health Holocaust.” Members of the country’s anti-socialist opposition have previously pleaded with the United States and other regional countries to open a humanitarian corridor to help ease the impact of the crisis.
The Maduro regime has repeatedly blocked down offers of aid from other countries, mainly because his regime continues to deny a problem exists and doing so would mean accepting the failures of his predecessor Hugo Chávez’s failed socialist revolution.
In March, the United States provided $2.5 million in aid to the thousands of Venezuelan refugees who have fled to neighboring countries such as Brazil and Colombia that they said would go toward “emergency food and health assistance in impacted border areas.”
Last month, the European Union also announced that they would give $47 million to be spent across charities and crisis groups such as the Red Cross working to alleviate the humanitarian impact of the crisis.