UN urges Venezuelan govt to allow citizens to participate in unofficial referendum to rewrite constitution

Geneva: The United Nations called on Venezuela's government on Friday to let people take part in an unofficial referendum on the constitution and make sure security forces do not use excessive force against protestors.

A truck burns in the background as a masked protester eyes a security forces cordon during protests in Venezuela. AP

A truck burns in the background as a masked protester eyes a security forces cordon during protests in Venezuela. AP

Opposition groups have called the plebiscite on Sunday, saying Venezuelans should have their say on President Nicolas Maduro's plan to rewrite the constitution.

"We urge authorities to respect the wishes of those who want to participate in this consultation and to guarantee people’s rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly," UN human rights spokeswoman Liz Throssell told a Geneva news briefing.

Applications for asylum by Venezuelan nationals have "soared", with 52,000 lodged already this year against 27,000 all of 2016, the U.N. refugee agency said, adding that it represented "only a fraction" of those in need of refuge.


Published Date: Jul 14, 2017 06:24 pm | Updated Date: Jul 14, 2017 06:24 pm