February 27th, 2014 10:54 EST
UN Chief Ban Urges Dialogue in Venezuela
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today voiced his sadness at continuing reports of violence and loss of life amid protests in Venezuela, and urged that all efforts be urgently made to lower the tensions and prevent further violence.
Mr. Ban has taken note of the calls for dialogue made by President Nicolas Maduro and other Venezuelans, the Secretary-General`s spokesperson said in a statement.
He hopes for concrete gestures by all parties to reduce polarization and create the necessary conditions to engage in a meaningful dialogue so that calm can be fully restored in the country as soon as possible. "
At least 13 people have reportedly died in two weeks of anti-Government demonstrations, some of which have ended in violent clashes. According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), thousands of people in big cities across the country have taken to the streets to protest issues such as rising crime rates and increasing economic hardship.
The High Commissioner`s Regional Representative in South America has called on the Venezuelan Government to ensure that the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of opinion and expression are guaranteed, and that a prompt, full and impartial investigation into the killings and any act of excessive use of force is undertaken.
The Secretary-General calls for the protection of the human rights of all Venezuelans, " his spokesperson stated.
He appeals to Venezuelans, no matter their political perspective, to voice differences and grievances peacefully and in accordance with the law, and to seek common ground. "
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