UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Friday urged Venezuela to release its jailed dissidents.
She said, “Crisis-wracked Venezuela faced a ‘serious’ humanitarian situation”.
Her comments came at the end of a three-day visit to the country on the invitation of embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who has been facing allegations of cracking down on political opponents amid rampant hyper-inflation and shortages of basic goods.
Bachelet further said, “I call on the authorities to release all those who are detained or deprived of their liberty for exercising their civil rights in a peaceful manner” while referring to hundreds of Maduro government opponents who are currently imprisoned.
Meanwhile, President Maduro has said he would respect the recommendations which have been made by former Chile President Michelle Bachelet.
“I told her that she can count on me, as president, to take her suggestions, her recommendations and her proposals seriously,” Maduro added.
Bachelet had previously criticized the government’s response to the crisis and called for Venezuela to respect “everyone’s fundamental right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.”
Bachelet arrived in Venezuela on Wednesday as part of a visit to survey the country’s ongoing economic and political crisis.
During her visit, Bachelet also met with opposition leader Juan Guaido, who is recognized as Venezuela’s interim president by some 50 countries, including the United States.
Rights groups had pushed Bachelet to raise the issue of 715 people they say are jailed for political reasons, a claim Maduro’s government rejects.
An apparently carefully planned attempt by Venezuela opposition leader Guaido to demonstrate growing military support disintegrated into rioting as palls of black smoke rose over eastern Caracas on April 30 and continued on for two days.
Juan Guaido claimed the move was the “beginning of the end” of President Nicolas Maduro’s regime, and that there was “no turning back”.