Statement from the UN Office on Human Rights

End Mission Statement by the Independent Expert
on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, Alfred-Maurice de Zayas to Venezuela and Ecuador
from 26 November to 9 December 2017

As the first Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, I have had the opportunity of defining the mandate and the methodology. I have produced six reports for the Human Rights Council and six reports for the General Assembly, all covering issues of international order including tax havens, investor-state-dispute settlement, bilateral investment treaties, free trade agreements, World Bank projects, the International Monetary Fund and its loan conditionalities, disarmament for development, the self-determination of peoples and the reform of the Security Council. The object and purpose of my mandate is laid down in resolution 18/6 of the Human Rights Council, and the parameters of my visit are described in a media statement issued on 27 November 20171.

The function of rapporteurs and independent experts is to ask questions, listen to all stakeholders, evaluate documents, and issue constructive recommendations to States. We come in order to help populations better realize their human rights. In order to do so, we try to convince governments that it is in their own interest to cooperate with the United Nations, and we offer them our advisory services and technical assistance. Our function cannot be reduced to condemning governments.

As one of the few Special Procedures given access to Venezuela and Ecuador, expectations for my visit were high. While I could not fulfil the expectations of some sectors of civil society and remain within the parameters of my mandate, I did assure my interlocutors that I would transmit their concerns to the pertinent rapporteurs. In particular, issues have been raised which could be examined in more depth by the rapporteurs on freedom of expression, on the right of peaceful assembly and association, on the independence of judges and lawyers, on food, health and on arbitrary detention. I also endeavoured to incorporate some of the concerns mentioned into the narrative of my preliminary recommendations to the States. Where relevant, I will reflect their input in the final report to the submitted to the Council in 2018.

-Read the entire report on the OHCHR website