UN special rapporteur calls for lifting sanctions against Venezuela

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By Lourdes Hurtado M.

The United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Michael Fakhari, demanded on Wednesday from Caracas all the States involved to lift the sanctions imposed against Venezuela.

At a press conference, Fakhari said that during his visit to the country he was able to observe that Venezuelans continue to have problems accessing sufficient good and healthy food, and highlighted the government’s efforts to guarantee the right to food.

“I certainly could see first-hand during my visit how unilateral coercive measures, in the form of economic sanctions, have limited the Government’s budgetary capacity to implement social protection programmes and provide basic public services,” he said.

Unilateral coercive measures imposed against Venezuela have also increased the cost of providing humanitarian aid and prevented international financial institutions from providing any funding, he said.

The damage is disproportionately suffered by people living in conditions of extreme poverty or vulnerability, the Special Rapporteur said.

Unilateral coercive measures are cruel and ruthless and hinder the realization of food development. I call on all the States involved to review and lift immediately the sectoral sanctions imposed on Venezuela, including secondary sanctions against third parties, he said.

Highlights constitutional protection for food

Fakhari also stressed that the Venezuelan Constitution protects the right to food.

What gives me hope is that the Venezuelan Constitution recognizes the right to food and food sovereignty. Venezuela has many progressive laws developed through effective participatory mechanisms that have the potential to realize the right to food, he said.

The Constitution recognizes the rights of indigenous peoples and Venezuela has enacted a set of laws to develop the specific rights of indigenous peoples.

In addition, the UN official praised the Venezuelan government’s efforts to reduce dependence on oil revenues.

I recognize the Government ' s efforts to begin taking measures to reduce its dependence on oil revenues and increase local production in rural, urban and peri-urban communities, he said.

I urge the Government of Venezuela to maintain and expand its support for peasants, fishermen, pastoralists, livestock farmers, urban and suburban farmers and especially indigenous and Afro-descendant women and peoples, the rapporteur said.

It also commended the Government for its support programme for small local producers, for example the Peasant Scientific Alliance in a truly dynamic programme.

This article has been translated from the original which first appeared in TelesurTV