Security Council Arria Formula Meeting: Venezuela as Case Study of Corruption, Peace, and Security

Statement by H.E. Karel J.G. van Oosterom,
Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations in New York

New York, 10 September 2018

Thank you very much, Madam President.

We welcome your initiative for this informal Arria setting. We thank Mercedes de Freitas and Marshall Billingslea for their sobering and informative briefings.

Madam President, this session is of particular importance to us, as Venezuela is the largest neighbor of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

The autonomous countries in our Kingdom – Aruba, Curaçao, and special municipality Bonaire – are located tens of kilometers from the Venezuelan coast. What happens in Venezuela directly affects us.

We therefore attach great importance to the relationship with Venezuela and its people. We share a history, a culture and our economies are intertwined. We feel closely connected and a deep friendship exists between our two peoples.

This is why we speak as a deeply concerned neighbor about current developments. That is also why we raise our concerns in direct contact with the Venezuelan government.

In that context, I will address the following three issues:

  • First, the rule of law;
  • Second, the humanitarian situation;
  • Third, the urgent need for a solution.

1. Rule of law and human rights

My first point, Madam President: the rule of law and human rights. We believe that a strong rule of law is essential for stability and for the trust in government and its leaders for the people. And therefore we are so concerned about the current developments.  

The rule of law in Venezuela and the separation of powers are under constant pressure. This creates an environment in which violation of human rights can go unpunished. The same applies to the issue of corruption, as others have addressed as well.

There are multiple ongoing crises that are of great concern to us. Organizations such as the OAS, the IACHR and Amnesty International have expressed themselves very clearly on the crisis.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands and the European Union have expressed similar concerns about the lack of freedom of expression and press, the use of excessive violence and the lack of independent justice.

2. The humanitarian situation and the impact on the region

This brings me to my second point: the humanitarian situation and the impact on the region. The deepening economic crisis and hyperinflation, characterized by a shortage of food and live-saving medication has an enormous impact on the people of Venezuela. The country is, as the briefers made very clear, in a humanitarian crisis.

It is important for Venezuela to acknowledge that, and the gravity of the humanitarian needs and should address them. And the government, in our strong view, should cooperate with regional initiatives and international organizations. And it should allow aid to be given to the Venezuelans by the UN, OAS and the EU.

Venezuelans are searching for a better future, including in neighboring countries. The Caribbean countries in our Kingdom experience these effects as well. In this context, we welcome efforts towards a regional approach in dealing with migration.

3. The urgent need for a solution

This brings me to my third point, Madam President: the urgent need for a solution. The key to ending the crisis in Venezuela, in our strong opinion, is in the hands of the Venezuelan government.

We call for a resumption of meaningful negotiations including all political actors, accompanied by countries in the region. That was also my message on Friday, when I spoke to our Venezuelan colleague. We can only make progress through inclusive dialogue in order to reach constructive, negotiated results.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Madame President, we reiterate the need for independent and democratically elected institutions and for the upholding of rule of law.

We condemn human rights violations and we call upon the Venezuelan authorities to urgently address the humanitarian needs of its people.

As part of the Latin-American and Caribbean region, the Kingdom of the Netherlands supports regional solutions for this multidimensional crisis. We will continue to work with all stakeholders including with the government of Venezuela to try ot contribute.

We stand ready to assist wherever a positive contribution can be made to the achievement of a peaceful, stable and sustainable situation for the people of Venezuela.

Thank you, Madame President.

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