Venezuela using excessive force, arrests to crush protests: U.N.

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 08, 2017 5:40 AM

GENEVA (Reuters) - Venezuelan security forces have wielded excessive force to suppress protests, killing dozens, and have arbitrarily detained 5,000 people since April, including 1,000 still in custody, the United Nations human rights office said on Tuesday.

In preliminary findings based on 135 interviews conducted remotely and in Panama, it said it had investigated 124 deaths, and found 46 attributable to security forces and 27 to pro-government armed groups, with the rest unclear.

"We are concerned that the situation in Venezuela is escalating and these human rights violations show no signs of abating so we are worried about the direction in which it is heading," U.N. human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told a news briefing in Geneva.

"Responsibility for human rights violations we are reporting lies at the highest level of government."

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Catherine Evans)