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    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.

    April 18, 2013

    Violent incidents around Venezuela following last Sunday’s presidential elections are only likely to increase unless the authorities carry out prompt, effective investigations and bring those responsible to justice, Amnesty International said.

    According to Venezuela’s Attorney General, at least seven people have died, 61 have been injured and 135 detained after the published election results indicated a narrow victory for standing Vice-President Nicolás Maduro.

    Amnesty International has also received reports of attacks on media workers, political and social activists, human rights defenders and people involved in political events or protests, both in the lead-up to and after the elections.

    “The violent incidents Venezuela has seen in the last two weeks are very worrying – the authorities have a duty to guarantee everyone the right to political participation and peaceful protest, as well as to ensure the security forces comply with international standards to maintain public order and contain potential violent acts,” said Guadalupe Marengo, Americas Program Director at Amnesty International.

    April 04, 2013

    The winner of Venezuela’s presidential elections on April 14 must implement policies that ensure the full protection of human rights in the country, Amnesty International said today.

    "Even though there has been some important human rights progress in Venezuela - particularly in terms of economic and social rights for the most vulnerable sectors - there are significant challenges ahead for the new president if the country is to step up to its full responsibilities," said Guadalupe Marengo, Amnesty International’s Americas Program Director.

    In a letter sent to all the presidential candidates, Amnesty International highlighted the urgency for Venezuela to rescind its withdrawal from the American Convention on Human Rights and, consequently, the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

    "Failure to respect the American Convention on Human Rights is an affront to Venezuela’s victims of human rights who are denied the possibility of turning to this important body of international legal protection," said Marengo. “The new Venezuelan President must reverse this decision as soon as possible.”

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