Venezuela's ambassador to the United Nations defended on Wednesday his country's reelection to the UN's Human Rights Council and took aim at Israel that had criticized the South American country's inclusion.
Earlier in the day, the UN General Assembly reelected Venezuela for its second, three-year term.
Human Rights Watch, an NGO based in the United States, has criticized Venezuela's inclusion, saying the country has violated fundamental freedoms within its borders, cracking down on protesters, targeting journalists, human rights defenders and critics, including imprisoning several leading opposition lawmakers.
Ambassador Rafael Dario Ramirez said Washington has subjected his country to a campaign of disinformation.
"Our candidacy and our country has been subject to tremendous pressure, a campaign of disinformation, of infamy, of lies, which has been present in certain media but it's been directed by the United States itself to try to affect our interests at the United Nations. Today's election represents for us international recognition of our country's commitment to human rights," he said, adding that he would never mention the United States' record on police violence against African-Americans, Guantanamo or its legalisation of the death penalty.
Israeli ambassador to the UN Danny Danon specifically criticized Caracas's inclusion
, saying the OPEC-nation was a friend of Iran.
Ramirez said Israel needed to look at its own record of human rights pertaining to Palestinians.
"Really, I believe that Israel has a lot of things to review. Their behaviour against the Palestinian people, they have to check what they are doing in Palestinian [territories]. More than thousands of childs in jail, in Israeli jail, and now this violence in Jerusalem and in the holy place. I prefer not to be confronting here, it's not the occasion, but Israel has to review a lot of things related with human rights," he added.
The Human Rights Council is made up of 47 member states, eight of which are from Latin America and the Caribbean. Since members are not eligible for immediate reelection after serving two consecutive terms, Venezuela will be out of office at the end of 2018.
Other countries elected were Belgium, Burundi, Côte d'Ivoire, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Georgia, Germany, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Panama, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Slovenia, Switzerland, Togo and United Arab Emirates.
Outgoing members include Argentina, Brazil, Estonia, Gabon, Ireland, Japan, Kazakhstan, Montenegro, Pakistan, Sierra Leone and the United States which was not eligible for re-election since it completed its second consecutive term.