GENEVA / VENEZUELA HUMAN RIGHTS

08-Aug-2017 00:01:48
Protesters in Venezuela have reportedly been shot at with nuts and bolts at close range by security forces amid what the UN has called the “widespread and systematic” use of force during anti-Government demonstrations. UNTV CH
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STORY: GENEVA / VENEZUELA HUMAN RIGHTS
TRT: 1:48
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 8 AUGUST 2017 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
SHOTLIST
1. Wide shot, exterior, Palais des Nations
2. Wide shot, Press Room
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Ravina Shamdasani, UN human rights office spokesperson:
“Witness accounts suggest that security forces, mainly the national guard, the national police, and local police forces, have systematically used disproportionate force to instil fear, crush dissent, and to prevent demonstrators from assembling, rallying, and reaching public institutions to present their petitions.”
4. Med shot, journalists
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Ravina Shamdasani, UN human rights office spokesperson:
“Witnesses spoke of security forces firing tear gas and buckshot at anti-government protestors without warning. Several of the individuals that we interviewed said tear gas canisters were used at short range or point-blank, and marbles, buckshot, and nuts and bolts were used as ammunition. Security forces have reportedly also resorted to the use of deadly force against demonstrators.”
6. Med shot, journalists
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Ravina Shamdasani, UN human rights office spokesperson:
“Based on the interviews that we have conducted, you know it’s painted a clear picture that this is not sporadic incidents by a couple of rogue officers where excessive force is being used. This is being used in a systematic manner to repress demonstrations.”
8. Close up, journalist
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Ravina Shamdasani, UN human rights office spokesperson:
“Some groups of demonstrators have resorted to violence. The authorities must carry out the management, the handling of these protests in line with international human rights law. If there are pockets of violence they need to be dealt with, however, you do not crack down on an entire group of protestors based on the actions of a smaller group.”
10. Close up of podium
11. Wide shot of podium
STORYLINE
Protesters in Venezuela have reportedly been shot at with nuts and bolts at close range by security forces amid what the UN has called the “widespread and systematic” use of force during anti-Government demonstrations.

The spokesperson for the UN human rights office (OHCHR) Ravina Shamdasani, said on Tuesday (8 Aug) in Geneva that after conducting interviews with victims and witnesses of the violence, which began in April, that “witness accounts suggest that security forces, mainly the national guard, the national police, and local police forces, have systematically used disproportionate force to instil fear, crush dissent, and to prevent demonstrators from assembling, rallying, and reaching public institutions to present their petitions.”

News of the UN fact-finding initiative follows a controversial vote to create a Constituent Assembly in parallel to the National Assembly at the end of last month.

As of the end of July, 124 people are believed to have died in the demonstrations.

Ravina Shamdasani said it was too soon to say whether the matter warranted an international investigation.

But she told journalists that the patterns of violence in the streets “are showing no signs of abating.”

She also said “witnesses spoke of security forces firing tear gas and buckshot at anti-Government protestors without warning. Several of the individuals that we interviewed said tear gas canisters were used at short range or point blank, and marbles, buckshot and nuts and bolts were used as ammunition.”

Shamdasani added that the information gathered from witnesses indicated that security forces and pro-Government armed groups known as “colectivos” were responsible for at least 73 deaths since protests began in April.

Some demonstrators had also reportedly attacked state security officers – eight of whom had died as a result of clashes, according to the UN human rights office spokesperson.

Shamdasani cautioned against adopting a heavy-handed approach against all those seeking to voice their opinions in public.

She said “authorities must carry out the management, the handling of these protests in line with international humanitarian law, if there are pockets of violence these need to be dealt with, however, you do not crack down on an entire group of protesters based on the actions of a smaller group.”

OHCHR’s update on the situation in Venezuela follows repeated appeals for access for human rights monitors to the country, which has been denied by the government of Nicolas Maduro.

Also on Tuesday, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres issued a statement on the situation in Venezuela, in which he called for a political solution based on dialogue and compromise, adding that so-called “unilateral measures” would not solve the crisis.

The UN Secretary-General also expressed concern “that recent developments could lead to further escalation of tensions, and distance the country from a path conducive to a peaceful solution to its challenges”.
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