Quico says: As we see OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza increasingly mimetized with Chávez over the Honduran crisis, it’s worth remembering that the organization the guy leads can’t even get an invite to Venezuela when the topic is human rights. Amazing though it is to think about now, the human rights arm of OAS (the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, or IACHR) spent much of 2006 and 2007 trying, to no avail, to set up an official visit to Venezuela to monitor the Human Right situation there.
What follows is from IACHR’s 2007 annual report:
227. During 2007, the Commission dedicated much of its time in trying to materialize a visit to Venezuela. Those efforts have been frustrated by the State’s silence on the question of a firm date for the visit. Since the Commission’s in loco visit to Venezuela in 2002, the Venezuelan Government has said that it would like the Commission to conduct follow-up activities, or arrange a visit by the Rapporteur for Venezuelan affairs, Dr. Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, to get a firsthand look at the changes that the State has introduced through the Missions and the Prison System Humanization Plan, among other initiatives. Thus far, however, the Commission has seen no progress on these fronts.
228. Furthermore, in early 2007, the Rapporteur for Venezuelan Affairs drew up a tentative agenda for a visit to Venezuela, which was discussed with the Permanent Representative of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the Organization of American States (OAS). In addition, several meetings between the President of the Commission and other members of the Commission with the same Ambassador were held in order discuss the achievement of a visit to the country. The President of the IACHR and the Rapporteur for Venezuela met the Minister and Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs in order to directly discuss the visit, having sent a letter to the Government proposing specific dates for December 2007 to which the Government of Venezuela has not yet responded.
This bizarre situation is made all the stranger by the fact that, virtually alone in the world, Venezuela’s constitution (Art. 23) actually gives international human rights treaties constitutional rank, explicitly saying they take precedence over internal legislation and can be directly enforced by the nation’s courts! But then, the whole constitution-cum-toilet-paper theme has been sufficiently developed here (and elsewhere) that it’s not really worth belaboring anymore.
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