Venezuela rejects UN report alleging crimes against humanity

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Venezuela on Monday rejected a report by UN experts that said its intelligence agencies are committing crimes against humanity as part of a plan orchestrated at the highest level of government to repress dissent.

The UN's Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Venezuela said last week that military and state intelligence services were part of a scheme "led by President Nicolas Maduro and supported by other senior authorities" to stifle opposition.

The country's foreign affairs ministry pushed back in a statement, saying "Venezuela expresses its most categoric rejection of the false and unfounded accusations by the so-called" international mission.

Presenting its report in Geneva last week, the mission's chair Marta Valinas said "grave crimes and human rights violations are being committed, including acts of torture and sexual violence."

Venezuela said this "new pseudo-report" lacked "methodological substance" and was merely designed to attack the country's institutions.

The government said the report was part of a criminal strategy aiming for "regime change" and promoted by the United States "with the complicity of its satellite governments around the world."

The mission was created in 2019 and has already presented two annual reports alleging human rights violations.

It has been refused access to Venezuela and hence has had to carry out its work in border areas and through phone and video interviews with those inside the country.

The International Criminal Court has said it will investigate alleged crimes against humanity in Venezuela related to the suppression of anti-government protests in 2017 that left around 100 people dead.