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Systematic Abuses in Venezuela under UN Scrutiny

HRW Statement - Item 4 ID on the High Commissioner's report on Venezuela

We thank the High Commissioner for her report.

The evidence on the ground shows that Venezuelan authorities have absolutely failed to comply with UN recommendations:

  • Torture, inhumane treatment, forced disappearances and arbitrary detentions continue.
  • The office has reported high numbers of extrajudicial killings committed by security forces, including the special police force, FAES, despite a specific recommendation in 2019 to dissolve FAES.
  • The report describes the detention and killing of 5 people in Apure state. In April, Human Rights Watch documented these abuses and concluded that they follow the same pattern of systematic abuses committed for years by Venezuelan security forces.
  • The report concludes that authorities violate the rights to a fair trial without undue delay and to legal counsel. This is due to the absolute lack of judicial independence in the country, which has allowed authorities to use the judiciary to arbitrarily prosecute opponents and led to rampant impunity of rights violations.
  • Restrictions, stigmatization and criminalization of civil society organizations and independent journalists persist.

As the Human Rights Council meets today, three human rights defenders from Fundaredes, an NGO that documents abuses committed in border areas in Venezuela, remain arbitrarily detained. They were detained on July 2, not allowed to have access to a lawyer of their choice, held incommunicado for hours, and charged with treason, terrorism, and instigating hatred.

We call on the High Commissioner and all member states to press Venezuelan authorities to release them and all political prisoners, and to implement all recommendations issued by the OHCHR, including those from the most recent report, such as guaranteeing free, fair and peaceful elections.

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