Jeremy Corbyn refuses to condemn Venezuelan president after UN allegations

Jeremy Corbyn has said he takes "very seriously" UN allegations of human rights violations by security forces and pro-government armed groups in Venezuela, but again declined to directly condemn president Nicolas Maduro.

The Labour leader was criticised by a senior Venezuelan opposition politician, four of his own MPs and the Government for failing to personally condemn Mr Maduro and his regime earlier this week.

Mr Corbyn has previously supported the country's left-wing governments and has come under increasing pressure to publicly denounce Mr Maduro, who is cracking down on enemies following a widely disputed vote that gave his socialist regime near unlimited powers

Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn

On Tuesday, a day after Mr Corbyn broke his silence to condemn violence inflicted by "all sides", the UN's human rights office said it unearthed "widespread and systematic use" of excessive force, arbitrary detention and other rights violations against demonstrators and detainees.

The UN found security forces were allegedly responsible for at least 46 deaths, and pro-government armed groups were allegedly responsible for 27 among 124 deaths being investigated in connection with demonstrations against the Maduro government.

Asked on a visit to Cornwall if he would now condemn Mr Maduro's regime given the UN's findings, Mr Corbyn said: "I condemn all abuses of human rights and as somebody who has frequently attended meetings of the UN Human Rights Council and contributed to a lot of those deliberations in the past I take very seriously what they said.

Nicolas Maduro
Nicolas Maduro

"So those abuses of human rights must be investigated.

"The solution has to be dialogue in Venezuela, has to be independence of the judiciary, and has to be support for a process that brings about a peaceful long-term solution."

Mr Maduro called the vote for a constitutional assembly to overhaul Venezuela's political system in May after a month of protests against his government, which has overseen the country's descent into a devastating crisis during four years in power.

Plunging oil prices and widespread corruption have left the formerly prosperous nation struggling with widespread shortages of food and medicine.

On Thursday, Venezuela's regime continued its clampdown on opponents, with the government-packed Supreme Court ordering the removal and imprisonment for 15 months of Caracas-area mayor David Smolansky, who had been promoting protests against Mr Maduro.

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