GENEVA – The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, expressed on Monday her concern over the increasing number of migrants fleeing crises in both Nicaragua and Venezuela.
Bachelet, a former Chilean president who took over at the OHCHR from Zeid Raad Al Hussein at the beginning of the month, inaugurated the Human Rights Council’s 38th regular session in Geneva.
“As this Council session begins, the rapidly growing numbers of people fleeing both Venezuela and Nicaragua once again demonstrate the need to constantly uphold human rights,” Bachelet told the Council. “But it is also fundamental to address the reasons why people are leaving.”
She said that as of July 1, some 2.3 million Venezuelans had fled to neighboring countries as the situation in the South American nation continued to deteriorate to the point where the OHCHR had received reports of people dying from malnutrition and preventable diseases.
Bachelet then turned her focus to Nicaragua, where some 400 people have been killed and around 2,000 injured since protests against President Daniel Ortega began in April.
“The number of people fleeing Nicaragua is also increasing exponentially, as a result of the ongoing crisis in the country, including the deterioration of human rights,” she continued.
Ortega’s government recently took the decision to expel a group of UN human rights observers after they published a report condemning police brutality, extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances among a long list of suspected violations in the Central American nation.