January 29, 2018 / 12:27 PM / a year ago

U.N. labor rights body cancels Venezuela mission

GENEVA (Reuters) - The International Labour Organization has canceled a visit to Venezuela that was due this week to investigate a complaint brought against President Nicolas Maduro’s by the country’s leading business group, the ILO said on Monday.

The mission was “regrettably” canceled because there was no confirmation from the government that the ILO team could meet the people they wanted to, Hans von Rohland, spokesman for the United Nations body, said.

“We have to see whether the mission can still take place before March - for the time being it has been canceled,” he said.

The national employers’ federation Fedecamaras had petitioned the ILO, complaining of pressure and intimidation and no genuine dialogue with the authorities, ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said last week.

Von Rohland said that even if the mission does not go ahead, the ILO’s governing body would still take a decision on Venezuela. Ryder said it could set up a commission of inquiry to make recommendations to ensure Venezuela meets its obligations under the ILO convention on the freedom of association.

Fedecamaras has long been at odds with Maduro’s government and played a major role against the government of his predecessor, Hugo Chavez, in 2002, when its head briefly became interim president.

Reporting by Tom Miles; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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