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Rights group decries shortage of food, medicine in crisis-hit Venezuela

Venezuela's economy is reeling from the global crash in the price of oil. In photo: People queue up outside a government-run Bicentenario Market in Caracas, Venezuela on January 16, 2015. Photograph: (Getty)

AFP Caracas, Venezuela Jul 23, 2016, 09.41 AM (IST)
The Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR) on Friday decried the dire shortages of food and medicine in Venezuela, calling on officials in Caracas to undertake "urgent measures" to try to stem the crisis.

The Washington DC-based group "regrets the urgent situation of extreme scarcity and shortages of medicine, medical supplies and food in Venezuela," it said in a statement.

"This situation has led to a significant deterioration in living conditions in the country and an increase in violence, which results in harm to people's health, personal integrity and life, to the detriment of the rights protected by the inter-American and universal human rights instruments," the commission, an autonomous human rights arm of the Organization of American States, added.

The ongoing crisis "has a negative impact on conditions to guarantee that Venezuelans can live a life of dignity, and it urges the State to adopt comprehensive measures to overcome this crisis," the IACHR said.

Among the hardships created by the shortages in medical care and supplies are "a significant number of neonatal deaths" and "long waits for critical surgical interventions," it added.

With respect to food scarcity, the group expressed concern that for many Venezuelans "it is impossible to obtain access to the food needed for an adequate diet."

Venezuela's economy is reeling from the global crash in the price of oil, its main export.

The plunge in crude revenues has unleashed a deep recession, chronic shortages and hyperinflation, threatening 17 years of socialist rule under President Nicolas Maduro and his late predecessor, Hugo Chavez.


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