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The UN denounced an increase of enforced disappearances in Venezuela Reuters

The United Nations' Committee on Enforced Disappearances denounced an "alarming increase" in such cases in Venezuela, Infobae reported on Tuesday.

"Since December 2023 we've recorded an alarming increase in enforced disappearances, affecting citizens exercising their right to freedom of speech and association," a group of experts said. They added that most victims are members of the opposition parties and military members.

"As the country gets ready for the July presidential elections, these disappearances could have a dissuasive effect and hamper the people's rights to vote freely," the statement added.

The Venezuelan opposition in fact denounced three such cases this weekend following the visit of one of its leaders, María Corina Machado. According to local officials, they are activists Ámbar Márquez, Víctor Castillo and Óscar Castañeda. Castillo was taken to a compound belonging to the intelligence service Sebin, while the whereabouts of the other two activists is still unknown.

The parties the activists were part of, Machado's Vente Venezuela and Primero Justicia, called the measures "extremely grave" and illustrative of the Maduro government's "oppressive and violent" nature and demanded they be released immediately.

According to Infobae, other seven regional campaign leaders have also been detained over the past weeks. All of them have been accused of being involved in plots against the Maduro government.

The UN group detailed that most cases "seem to follow a pattern." "People are taken by state authorities to well-known detention centers and deprived of their fundamental rights, as well as access to lawyers." "This is an enforced disappearance, regardless of its duration."

The description of such behavior by members of the Maduro government comes a week after the U.S.'s State Department released its annual human rights report, which detailed similar conclusions also including extrajudicial killings, torture, arbitrary detention, "serious problems with the independence of the judiciary," use of children by illegal armed groups; serious restrictions on freedom of expression and media freedom, and censorship.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Yván Gil, on his end, criticized the report on behalf of the government, stating that it is "filled with lies and falsehoods" against the country.

In a statement shared on X, formerly Twitter, the diplomat said that Washington crafted a "ridiculous pamphlet" as part of its "toxic obsession" against Venezuela.

"Without any moral authority, the most hostile and deadliest empire in humanity dares to speak of rights that it constantly violates and undermines," Gil said in the publication.

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