September 11, 2017 / 10:56 AM / 2 years ago

Venezuela defends rights record at U.N., says opposition 'back on path of rule of law'

Venezuela's Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza (2R) leaves after his address to the 36th Session of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland September 11, 2017. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

GENEVA (Reuters) - Venezuela’s foreign minister defended his country’s record on Monday, rejecting as “baseless” reports by the United Nations human rights office that found grave violations by its security forces against protesters.

Earlier, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein warned that the government of President Nicolas Maduro may move to further crush democratic institutions and that crimes against humanity may have already been committed by his security forces.

“The opposition in Venezuela is back on the path of rule of law and democracy, we will see dialogue emerging thanks to the mediation of our friends,” Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said to applause at the U.N. Human Rights Council, where Venezuela is one of 47 members.

(This story corrects quote in 3rd paragraph following U.N. interpretation error)

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Mark Trevelyan

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