Human Rights Watch welcomes the report and update by the Fact-Finding Mission on Venezuela, which has found reason to believe that the Maduro government has committed crimes against humanity.
We share the Fact-Finding Mission’s assessment that while the same patterns of abuse continue, there has been a shift in tactics – from the widescale repression of protesters in the streets, to a more “selective” repression that includes “softer tactics,” such as surveillance, harassment and criminalization. However, “harder” tools of repression, such as torture and killings, continue, in part due to the absence of accountability or checks on the Maduro government.
We share concerns regarding the escalating restrictions on civic space. These include restrictions on freedom of speech, erosion on the right to freedom of association, and undue constraints imposed on human rights organizations. This year, several trade unionists have been subject to intimidation, arbitrary prosecution and detention, and sentenced in proceedings that misused counterterrorism legislation. The National Assembly is still considering a bill granting the executive sweeping powers to monitor, register, and penalize NGOs.
Arbitrary disqualification of candidates and judicial interference with political parties continue, raising additional concerns about respect for the right to vote in the 2024 presidential elections and the 2025 legislative and regional elections.
In the face of the continued rights crisis in Venezuela, the work of the Fact-Finding Mission remains essential to ensure robust scrutiny and to address impunity fueling the ongoing abuses.
We would like to ask the Fact-Finding Mission how the Human Rights Council can support its work?