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Human rights violations indicate repressive policy of Venezuelan authorities – UN report

Extensive human rights violations and abuses have been committed in the wake of anti-Government protests in Venezuela and point to “the existence of a policy to repress political dissent and instill fear in the population to curb demonstrations,” a report by the United Nations human rights office has found.

“The policies pursued by the authorities in their response to the protests have been at the cost of Venezuelans' rights and freedoms,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein in a news release issued today.

The report notes that the generalized and systematic use of excessive force during demonstrations and the arbitrary detention of protestors and perceived political opponents indicate that these were not the acts of isolated officials.

The report calls on the UN Human Rights Council to consider taking measures to prevent the human rights situation in Venezuela from worsening. Venezuela is currently a Council member.

Mass street demonstrations began in the country in April. Tensions between the Government and the opposition reached a new high about a month ago, when President Nicolás Maduro convened elections for the so-called Constituent Assembly, which could replace the current legislative body, the National Assembly.

The report indicates that of the 124 deaths linked to the protests being investigated by the Attorney General's Office as of 31 July, the security forces were reportedly responsible for 46 and pro-Government armed groups, known as armed colectivos, for 27. Responsibility for the remaining 51 deaths has not yet been determined.

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 Quick Facts form the Report:

venezuela reportaug17

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UN rights chief expresses concern over Venezuela ban on Attorney General from leaving the country

30 June 2017 – Amid the ongoing violence in Venezuela, the United Nations human rights office today expressed concern about a decision by the Supreme Court to null the appointment of the Attorney General, freeze her assets and ban her from leaving the country.

“We are concerned that the Supreme Court’s decisions appear to seek to strip her Office of its mandate and responsibilities as enshrined in the Venezuelan Constitution, and undermine the Office’s independence,” 

Rupert Colville
spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

The Venezuelan Supreme Court on 28 June decided to begin removal proceedings against Attorney General Luisa Ortega, freeze her assets and ban her from leaving the country. It also transferred some of the Attorney General’s, until now, exclusive functions to the Ombudsperson.

UN Guidelines on the Role of Prosecutors stipulate that governments should ensure that prosecutors can do their jobs without intimidation, harassment or improper interference, among other things.

[read the full story] | [en español ]


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Ban urges all parties in Venezuela to reduce polarization and engage sincerely in dialogue process

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the Vatican’s joining of the ongoing initiative by former Heads of State and Government to promote dialogue between the Government of Venezuela and the country’s political opposition, under the auspices of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).

According to a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban also called on all national actors to take tangible measures to reduce polarization and to engage sincerely in the dialogue process.

Underscoring the importance of adhering to the rule of law and the Constitution and ensuring respect for human rights, including freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly, the UN chief further called on all Venezuelans, regardless of their political perspective, to exercise those rights responsibly.

“Above all,” noted the statement, “the Secretary-General reiterates his strong conviction that the Government and the opposition should make concerted efforts to focus on the country’s current challenges, including to effectively address the socio-economic needs of the country, for the benefit of the Venezuelan people.”

In the statement, the Secretary-General also welcomed the expressions of support for the UNASUR initiative from the international community.

 

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UN rights chief 'deeply concerned' by detention of Venezuela opposition leaders

The top United Nations human rights official today expressed deep concern about the detention of two opposition leaders by Venezuelan authorities after Sunday's elections for a Constituent Assembly convened by President Nicolás Maduro.

[testimonial author="Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein" title="UN High Commissioner for Human Rights" icon="icon" ] “I am deeply concerned that opposition leaders Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma have again been taken into custody by Venezuelan authorities after their house arrest was revoked,” [/testimonial]

He urged the Government to immediately release all those being held for exercising their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, association and expression, noting that the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention considers the detention of both Lopez and Ledezma to be arbitrary. (OHCHR)

President Maduro has declared victory in Sunday's elections for the new body, which could replace the current National Assembly.

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  • Full Statement by the High Commissioner for Human Rights :

    GENEVA (1 August 2017) – “I am deeply concerned that opposition leaders Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma have again been taken into custody by Venezuelan authorities after their house arrest was revoked. I urge the Government to immediately release all those being held for exercising their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, association and expression.

    I also regret that at least 10 people reportedly died in Venezuela over the weekend amid demonstrations over the Constituent Assembly elections. The investigations into these deaths must be carried out in a prompt, effective and independent manner, with the full cooperation of the Government.

    I urge the authorities not to make an already extremely volatile situation even worse through the use of excessive force, including through violent house raids by security forces that have occurred in various parts of the country.

    I appeal to all parties to refrain from the use of violence.”

    The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention considers the detention of both Lopez and Ledezma to be arbitrary. The opinions of the Working Group on these cases can be found here:

    Lopez: http://daccess-ods.un.org/access.nsf/Get?Open&DS=A/HRC/WGAD/2014/26&Lang=E;

    Ledezma: http://daccess-ods.un.org/access.nsf/Get?Open&DS=A/HRC/WGAD/2015/27&Lang=E

    en español if es 4616


ENDS

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