NEARLY 7,000 people have been killed during security operations in Venezuela in the past year and half, the UN said Thursday, warning that many of the killings likely constituted ''executions''.

In a fresh report the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said the Venezuelan government had registered at least 6,856 killed in alleged confrontations with state forces since the beginning of 2018.

''The incidents of alleged extrajudicial killings by security forces......,....... have been shockingly high, Bachelet's office said in a statement.

Last year, the government registered 5,287 killings, purportedly for ''resistance to authority'' during such operations, between January 1 and May 19 this year, another 1,569 similar killings were registered, according to to the report.

The numbers were provided by the Venezuelan government to the UN rights office in response to a request made following a visit to the country by a  technical team in March, spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told AFP, adding that this was the first time the UN had published the figures.

The UN rights chief, who herself visited Venezuela last month, warned in her report that ''there are reasonable grounds to believe that many many of these killings constitute extrajudicial executions committed by security forces.''


The report, which Bachelet is set to present to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, especially pointed a finger at Venezuela's police special forces [FAES]

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights [OHCHR] is concerned that the authorities may be using FAES, and possible other security forces, as part of a policy of social control,'' the report said

''These killings warrant immediate investigation to ensure  accountability of perpetrators and guarantees of non-recurrence,'' the report said, urging Caracas to ''dissolve FAES.''

And Bachelet called on the government to ''establish an impartial and independent  national   mechanism, with the support of international community, to investigate extrajudicial executions during security operations, ensure accountability of perpetrators and redress for victims.'' [Agencies]


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