UN Calls for Release of Colombian Nationals Detained in Venezuela


The U.N. human rights office has appealed to the Venezuelan government to release 59 Colombian nationals held without charge for more than two years under horrific conditions.

The detainees were picked up during security sweeps by the Venezuelan police and are being held in prisons that are “monstrous beyond belief,” according to human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani.

Overcrowding is the norm, with infrastructure infested with rats and insects. Detainees have limited access to daylight in most parts of the country as well as food and water, including drinking water. As a result, diseases are prone, medical attention for serious illnesses is not adequate.

According to Shamdasani, 59 detainees have been accused of being Colombian paramilitaries. However, no evidence or charges have been brought against them. Last November, she says, a Venezuelan judge ruled they should be unconditionally released, but the order has not been respected.

“As far as international human rights law is concerned, their detention could very well amount to arbitrary detention and this case has been referred to the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention,” Shamdasani said.

The U.N. human rights office has appealed to the Venezuelan authorities to comply with the judge’s ruling and to free the men without delay.



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