Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro will visit China
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro AFP

The Venezuelan government on Thursday expelled the members of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in the country, shortly after the entity voiced concern over the detention of activist Rocío San Miguel.

"The decision has been made given the unproper role the institution has taken. Far from being impartial, it has become a lobbying entity for a group of coup-mongers and terrorists who are permanently plotting against the country," said in a statement Venezuelan Foreign Minister Yvan Gil.

The government gave the UN office 72 hours to leave the country and said it will continue blocking it "until they publicly rectify before the international community their colonialist, abusive stance, which is a violation of the United Nations' Charter"

The announcement comes shortly after the office stated its "profound concern" over the detention of San Miguel and urged the Maduro government to "end its wave of repression" to the opposition members. "The series of recent acts are against international law," the office added.

San Miguel was arrested after authorities claimed she was involved in a plot to kill president Nicolás Maduro and other high ranking officials. The apprehension was confirmed by prosecutor general Tarek William Saab, who added that the alleged conspiracy, dubbed "white bracelet," was also aimed at attacking military units across the country.

Miguel was detained on Feb. 9 at the airport near Caracas while she was about to catch a flight with her daughter Miranda Díaz to Miami. Following the detention, her daughter, ex-husband Victor Díaz, two brothers, and former partner were taken into custody by Venezuelan authorities.

The 57-year-old activist is well-known for researching against corrupt armed forces in Venezuela and she serves as the head of the non-governmental organization Control Ciudadano. The organization focuses on various issues, including human rights, security, and the armed forces. She is believed to be held in the Helicoide prison.

The news catalyzed a swift backlash among the country's opposition and other human rights activists, who claimed that San Miguel was being detained for political purposes, the UN office among them.

The Biden administration also condemned the detentions and urged the Maduro-led administration to immediately release the activist.

The UN office's main task is "providing support for the effective implementation of the recommendations given" in the entity's different reports on the country's human rights situation since 2019, when it was established. So far, the office issued six reports on Venezuela, broadly condemning human rights abuses by the Maduro government.

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