The UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday slammed "widespread" political persecution in Venezuela and voted to extend its fact-finding mission for another two years to probe alleged gross rights violations.
The mission produced a report at the council in Geneva last month which concluded that Venezuela's president and top ministers were responsible for probable crimes against humanity.
Tasked with probing a slew of alleged violations, the team said they had found evidence that state actors, including President Nicolás Maduro, were behind serious crimes such as extrajudicial killings and the systematic use of torture.
The resolution extending the investigation for a further two years was adopted by 22 votes to three on Tuesday, with 22 abstentions.
The council "strongly condemns the widespread targeted repression and persecution on political grounds, including through the excessive use of force, arbitrary detention, torture, ill-treatment, extrajudicial execution and enforced disappearance by the security forces," said the text of the adopted resolution.
It also condemned "the violations of the independence of the National Assembly... as well as the intervention in the autonomy and composition of several political parties."
The council urged UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet to continue to monitor, report on and provide technical cooperation with a view to improving the human rights situation in the country.
The fact-finding mission was initiated by the council a year ago.
The resolution extended its mandate for another two years "to enable the mission to continue to investigate gross violations of human rights".
Eritrea, the Philippines and Venezuela itself were the three countries that voted against the resolution.
Among the 22 in favour were a host of regional heavyweights states including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru – which introduced the resolution – and Uruguay, plus Australia, Germany, Italy, Japan and Spain.
The 22 abstentions included India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria and Pakistan.
The result had an immediate impact for Argentina's ruling Frente de Todos coalition, with Ambassador to Russia Alicia Castro announcing her resignation in protest at the vote.