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UN rights office 'surprised' by Venezuela's ruling against reconciliation bill

12 April 2016 – The United Nations human rights office today expressed concern about yesterday's ruling by Venezuela's top court against a bill that could serve as the basis for a path of dialogue and reconciliation in that country.

"We are very surprised with the ruling yesterday by the Constitutional Chamber of Venezuela's Supreme Court against the Amnesty and National Reconciliation Bill," said Spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

The bill was approved by the National Assembly on 29 March. Upon the request of the Government, High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein had sent a legal analysis of the bill to Venezuela, advising that the text was generally in conformity with international human rights standards, the spokesperson said.

OHCHR is still studying the ruling in detail, but noted with concern that the court declared the entire text unconstitutional, she added.

The UN office called on the Government and the political opposition to open up avenues for a process of dialogue that could contribute to reaching the crucial political agreements that are necessary to tackle the multiple human rights challenges that Venezuelans are facing.

It also called on the Government and all State entities to ensure full respect for the basic rights and freedoms to which all Venezuelans are entitled – including human rights defenders and civil society actors – in line with the country's obligations under the international human rights treaties it has ratified, as well as the commitments it made during its Universal Periodic Review before the UN Human Rights Council.

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