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Venezuala

    July 28, 2016

    A new decree establishing that any employee in Venezuela can be effectively made to work in the country’s fields as a way to fight the current food crisis is unlawful and effectively amounts to forced labour, said Amnesty International.

    “Trying to tackle Venezuela’s severe food shortages by forcing people to work the fields is like trying to fix a broken leg with a band aid,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “The new decree completely misses the point when it comes to findings ways for Venezuela to crawl out of the deep crisis it has been submerged in for years. Authorities in Venezuela must focus on requesting and  getting much needed humanitarian aid to the millions in need across the country and develop a workable long term plan to tackle the crisis.”

    June 10, 2016

    The Venezuelan authorities’ stubborn denial over the country’s current humanitarian crisis, coupled with their refusal to ask for international aid, are putting the lives and rights of millions of people at serious risk, Amnesty International said as it concluded a visit to the country.

    An Amnesty International delegation spoke to public officials, NGOs, human rights defenders, lawyers and survivors of human rights violations in Caracas, Guarenas and the state of Táchira, on the border with Colombia. People spoke of the chronic lack of essential food staples and medicines as the country faces one of the worst economic crises in decades.

    “Stubborn politics are seriously affecting millions of lives. The lethal combination of severe food and medicine shortages coupled with sky-high crime rates, persistent human rights violations and ill-conceived policies that focus on trying to keep people quiet instead of responding to their desperate calls for help are a recipe for an epic catastrophe,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    November 26, 2015

    Venezuela must urgently investigate the killing of an opposition politician or risk further political violence in the country ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections, said Amnesty International.

    “The killing of Luis Manuel Díaz provides a terrifying view of the state of human rights in Venezuela. Unless authorities are decisive in investigating this tragedy and bringing those responsible to justice, the door will be wide open to more violence,” said Marcos Gómez, Director at Amnesty International Venezuela.

    Luis Manuel Díaz, leader of the Democratic Action party in Guarico in Central Venezuela was shot dead during a public meeting.

    Opposition candidates and human rights activists have reported other attacks and intimidation during the electoral campaign.

    Parliamentary elections will be held on 6 December.

     

    For further information contact John Tackaberry, Media Relations
    (613)744-7667 #236 jtackaberry@amnesty.ca

    October 16, 2015

    Venezuela must halt its escalating campaign of attacks and harassment against human rights activists and instead publicly support their crucial and legitimate work, said Amnesty International as the country faces a hearing at the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights on Monday 19 October.  

    “Defending human rights in Venezuela has become an increasingly dangerous occupation with activists harassed and attacked for criticizing the authorities,” said Marcos Gómez, Director at Amnesty International Venezuela, who will represent the organization at the hearing.

     In recent weeks, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has publicly criticized the work of human rights organizations and activists. In a televised speech on 21 August he discredited Marino Alvarado, a member of local human rights group Provea, stating his organization was right-wing and questioning its work.

    October 02, 2015

    A recent armed attack on a human rights defender and his 9-year-old son in a raid on their home in Caracas must be a wake-up call to the Venezuelan government to immediately ensure the effective protection of human rights defenders, said Amnesty International today.

    Marino Alvarado was attacked in his doorway as he arrived home with his son on 1 October, according to local rights group Provea. Three unknown attackers forced their way into the building brandishing 9mm calibre firearms and hitting Marino Alvarado on the head. In the 40 minute ordeal, they bound him and his son, raiding the apartment from which they took two laptops, a tablet, two phones, a camera and cash.

    “This appalling attack on Marino Alvarado and his child is only the latest in a disturbing string of attacks against human rights defenders in Venezuela,” said Guadalupe Marengo, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Americas.

    September 11, 2015

    The 13 years and nine months prison sentence against a Venezuelan opposition leader without any credible evidence against him shows an utter lack of judicial independence and impartiality in the country, said Amnesty International.

    “The charges against Leopoldo López were never adequately substantiated and the prison sentence against him is clearly politically motivated. His only ‘crime’ was being leader of an opposition party in Venezuela,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “He should have never been arbitrarily arrested or tried in the first place. He is a prisoner of conscience and must be released immediately and unconditionally.”

    “With this decision, Venezuela is choosing to ignore basic human rights principles and giving the green light to more abuses.”

    Christian Holdack, Demian Martín and Ángel González, who were tried alongside Leopoldo López, were also found guilty but will spend their sentences outside of prison.

    March 24, 2015

    Venezuela’s failure to effectively investigate and bring to justice those responsible for the deaths of 43 people and the injury and torture of hundreds during protests in 2014, is effectively giving a green light to more abuses and violence, said Amnesty International in a new report today.

    The faces of impunity: A year after the protests, victims still await justice examines the stories of those who died or were arbitrarily arrested and tortured in detention during and after the protests that rocked the country between February and July 2014. Amongst the dead and injured were protesters, passers-by and members of the security forces. Some are still behind bars pending trial.

    “People in Venezuela should be able to peacefully protest without fear of losing their lives or being unlawfully detained,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “Every day that passes without addressing the catalogue of human rights abuses that took place during the protests is another day of heart-breaking injustice for the victims and their families. This must stop.”

    November 05, 2014

    Venezuelan law enforcement officials have engaged in the torture and other ill-treatment of dozens of protestors over recent months, Amnesty International will tell the United Nations Committee Against Torture later today.

    Amnesty International and other NGOs will present evidence before the Committee Against Torture (CAT) in Geneva. In a joint public statement the organizations have documented cases of authorities enacting torture and ill-treatment, with examples stretching back over the past decade.

    “This is a serious wake-up call for Venezuela. The evidence Amnesty International and other organizations have gathered paints a grim picture of the violence and abuse meted out to protestors in recent months, but also reveals a serious problem that has been going on for years,” said Nuria Garcia, Venezuela Researcher, Amnesty International. 

    This is the first time in 10 years that the country has come before the United Nations Committee. 

    April 01, 2014
    So far 37 people have lost their lives and more than 550 have been injured in Venezuela since protest started in early February.© Carlos Becerra

    Venezuela risks one of the worst threats to the rule of law in decades if the different political forces do not commit to fully respecting human rights, according to a new Amnesty International report on the current crisis in the country.
     
    The report, Venezuela: Human Rights at risk amid protests, documents allegations of human rights violations and abuses committed in the context of the massive public demonstrations since early February.
     
    “The country runs the risk of descending into a spiral of violence unless steps are taken to bring the conflicting parties around the table. This can only happen if both sides fully respect human rights and the rule of law. Unless this happens, the death toll will continue to rise with ordinary people bearing the brunt,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.
     

    March 20, 2014

    The arrest of a Venezuelan mayor for his alleged involvement in anti-government protests is a signal of the deteriorating human rights situation in the country, said Amnesty International.

    “With the arrest of Daniel Ceballos on suspicion of rebellion and conspiracy to commit a crime, authorities in Venezuela seem to be setting the scene for a witch hunt against opposition leaders,” said Guadalupe Marengo, Americas Deputy Director at Amnesty International.

    Daniel Ceballos, mayor of San Cristóbal, west of Venezuela, and member of the opposition party Voluntad Popular, was arrested by the Venezuelan Intelligence Security Services (SEBIN) on 19 March.

    The Minister of Justice and Interior, Miguel Rodriguez Torres, announced on TV that Ceballos had been detained on charges of “civil rebellion” and “conspiracy”.

    Torres also tweeted: “The arrest of Daniel Ceballos is an act of justice! This Mayor facilitated and supported the irrational violence that erupted in San Cristóbal. A mayor has an obligation to enforce the Constitution and laws, not to promote violence, anarchy and civil rebellion!”

    March 13, 2014

    The death toll of at least 25 after a month of massive public demonstrations for and against the government in Venezuela will keep rising unless all sides commit to human rights, Amnesty International said following three new deaths on Wednesday.

    A policeman, a student and a third man died yesterday in separate incidents in Valencia, the country’s third-largest city, 170km west of Caracas.

    “In such a polarized political context the bloodshed will only continue unless the government and its supporters, as well as the various political opposition groups commit to fully respecting human rights,” said Guadalupe Marengo, Deputy Director of Amnesty International Americas Program.

    “Specifically, all parties should roundly condemn any acts of violence against political opponents. The authorities must do their utmost to prevent these attacks and to ensure that anyone responsible for such acts is brought to justice.”

    President Nicolás Maduro has told his supporters that after a meeting of his Security Cabinet today he will announce “extraordinary measures” aimed at putting an end to the ongoing protests.

    February 19, 2014

    The charges brought against Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López smack of a politically motivated attempt to silence dissent in the country, said Amnesty International.

    “Venezuelan authorities must either present solid evidence to substantiate the charges against López or release him immediately and unconditionally,” said Guadalupe Marengo, Amnesty International Americas Programme Deputy Director.  

    “These charges appear to be politically motivated because of his leadership in the recent anti-government protests. Currently, Amnesty International has not seen evidence to substantiate these charges. This is an affront to justice and free assembly.”

    It is understood that Leopoldo López, the leader of opposition party Voluntad Popular (Political Will), has been charged with homicide, grievous bodily harm and other crimes in relation to the deaths of three people in the last few days during mass demonstrations.

    February 13, 2014

    Authorities in Venezuela must urgently investigate the deaths of three people during protests yesterday, said Amnesty International.

    “It is extremely concerning that violence has become a regular feature during protests in Venezuela. If the authorities are truly committed to preventing more deaths, they must ensure those responsible for the violence, demonstrators, security forces and armed civilians alike face justice,” said Guadalupe Marengo, Americas Deputy Director at Amnesty International.

    “Protesters still held in detention must be charged with a crime or immediately released.”

    According to reports, journalists were prevented from covering the protests. At least one TV channel is now believed to have been blocked.

    September 06, 2013

    Venezuela must immediately reverse its decision to withdraw from the American Convention on Human Rights and make a commitment to truly protect all individuals, Amnesty International said today.

    The Venezuelan government’s decision will take effect on 10 September. The withdrawal will leave Venezuelan citizens without the protection of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

    “This decision is an insult to the victims of human rights violations and places future generations of Venezuelans at risk. What’s more, it goes against Venezuela’s constitution, which guarantees access to international bodies to seek protection of their human rights,” said Guadalupe Marengo, Deputy Director of the Americas Programme at Amnesty International.

    “The Venezuelan government’s attitude is highly contradictory. On the one hand it is promoting universal ratification of the American Convention on Human Rights and urging other countries to ratify this instrument while, on the other, it is withdrawing from it and denying its inhabitants access to the protection of one of its bodies.”

    June 15, 2013

    The decision to grant Judge María Lourdes Afiuni Mora conditional release is a positive step, but clearly insufficient, Amnesty International said today.

    "More than three years after being detained, no reliable evidence has been presented against Judge Afiuni. Once more, we demand that the charges against her be dropped," said Guadalupe Marengo, Amnesty International’s Americas Program Director.

    "The preventive measures attached to her release are worrying, since they constitute a serious limitation on her freedom of expression and movement.”

    Yesterday, the 17th Caracas tribunal judge, Marilda Ríos, granted Afiuni conditional freedom. She will have to appear in court every 15 days and she is not allowed to travel abroad, to give statements to national and international media, or write on social networks. The trial against her continues.

    Amnesty International has repeatedly stated that the detention of judge María Lourdes Afiuni Mora is a case of unwarranted political interference by the executive branch.

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