CARACAS: Venezuela’s foreign minister said Thursday he had decided to “suspend the activities” of the UN rights office in the country and ordered its staff to leave within 72 hours.

The move comes two days after the United Nations agency expressed “deep concern” over the detention of prominent rights activist Rocio San Miguel and called for her “immediate release.”

Foreign Minister Yvan Gil said the office had taken on an “inappropriate role” and had become “the private law firm of the coup plotters and terrorists who permanently conspire against the country.”

He said the decision would remain in place until the agency “publicly rectify, before the international community, their colonialist, abusive and violating attitude of the United Nations Charter.”

The United Nations Human Rights Office has been present in Venezuela since 2019.

Its main role is to support the implementation of recommendations made in reports which the high commissioner, Volker Turk, presents to the Human Rights Council.

There have been six such reports issued from Venezuela. -AFP