A general view of participants during the 29th Regular Session of the Human Rights Council. 3 July 2015. UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré

Venezuela Tries to Game the UN's Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights

You'd think reputable NGOs like the "Association for Obvious Things" would have no trouble seeing through Venezuela's pathetic attempt to whitewash its Human Rights record

As all attention in Venezuela is focused on Dialogue-palooza and its consequences, the government faced an important test in the United Nations: the Universal Periodic Review.

The Bolivarian Republic sent a large delegation, including not only members of the Executive but also from the Judiciary and the Electoral Power. Also, they had their propaganda up and ready.

But as the government pushed their core message of “Everything is Awesome”, a new report by a small but respected NGO, UN Watch, accused the government of committing “fraud on a massive scale” against the UN’s Human Rights System, by using endorsements by a very large number of questionable groups.

“Although “critiques by genuine NGOs do appear, they are overwhelmed by an unprecedented amount of submissions by fraudulent ‘NGOs’ that, if  they do exist, are either controlled by the government of Venezuela, or by its allies Cuba and Bolivia,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch and an international lawyer.

“Venezuela used hundreds of front groups to hijack the United Nations database and compilation summary of NGO submissions, and turn it into a propaganda sheet for the regime of President Nicolas Maduro, said Neuer.”

In the report, UN Watch finds curious that Venezuela has 519 submissions for its UPR report, in comparison with 20 for Zimbabwe, 23 for South Sudan or 26 for Syria, which have their UPR reviews at the same time.

Among the 500 groups absurdly praising Venezuela’s alleged human rights accomplishments include the Bolivian Baseball Association, the Cuban Federation of Canine Sports, and the ‘Association for Obvious Things,’ a group in Slovenia that hailed Venezuela’s record on combating hunger,” said the UN Watch report. 

But not everything went smoothly for the Venezuelan delegation: 103 countries made multiple recommendations on issues from the suspension of the recall referendum to free speech to crime reductions. Even North Korea (of all nations) ask us to “improve food production”. Irony is dead.

The first report of Venezuela’s UPR review comes tomorrow and the final one later this month.