The Mission to “determine the facts” in Venezuela since 2014, made up of three independent experts mandated by the Council of UN Human Rights, revealed in Geneva new crimes committed by state security forces; and likewise the project of “regulation” and “abusive control” on the “existence, financing and activities of NGOs”multiplying administrative procedures that “hinder its free functioning”.
Since the previous report of September 2022, these experts who do not receive a salary, nor are they UN officials, and only receive per diems for their activitiesconfirm the intensification of “crimes against humanity committed through intelligence services” Venezuelans. They denounce “a plan to repress people perceived as opponents of the Government, silence, discourage and nullify the opposition”, with “the absence of investigation and punishment of the perpetrators”.
In this regard they list 282 people who “remain detained for political causes and reasons and new arrests of a selective nature are verified.” In this sense, threats to their relatives proliferate, making it difficult for them to obtain “food and medical treatment and restrictions on the access of relatives and lawyers, and constant violations of the right to due process.”
They recall the cases of Javier Tarazona, the NGO FundaREDES and 6 trade unionists. They are addedThe journalists Roland Carreño and Jesus Medinalegally prosecuted, as part of the subjugation of the media, together with the closure of some 80 radio stations. Added to this is the false dismantling of the FAES paramilitaries, whose “commanders and members have been absorbed by the new Directorate of Strategic and Tactical Actions (DAET)”, to which 716 murders are still attributed with impunity.
The Mission verifies that its reports coincide with the “criminal patterns and lines of command” used in its investigations by the International Criminal Court (ICC), whose statutes were initially assumed by the late President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavezand that until now have not been denied by the current president, Nicolás Maduro, who has even authorized the opening of an ICC office in Caracas, susceptible to receiving complaints about the repression.
86% of the murders of journalists in the world remain unpunished
The Mission confirms that the ICC has evidence that “crimes against humanity, including torture, have been committed in Venezuela since at least 2017 and other ill-treatment in detention centers (…) that do not prescribe and cannot be amnestied”. They agree with the ICC that the “legal and institutional reforms related to the justice system have been insufficient and have had limited implementation”, despite the fact that “the ICC processes represent substantial progress in ensuring accountability in Venezuela ”.
The ambassador of Venezuela in Geneva, Héctor Constant Rosalescriticized “the delegitimized resolution that renewed the mandate of this hostile monitoring mechanism against my country, which was firmly rejected by Venezuela together with a significant number of nations”, without taking into account that the mandate to create this Mission in 2019, was imposed by majority vote of the 47 Member States of this Council, with 19 votes in favour, 7 against and 21 abstentions.
The Venezuelan diplomat pointed to a “strategy designed by the United States, its allies in the European Union and a few countries in my region that deny their identity and prefer to attack rather than cooperate. It is about continuing to use human rights as the preferred instrument of attack against Venezuelato keep the media campaign against the Bolivarian Government active, as well as to try to feed a narrative of alleged systematic violations of human rights for dark political purposes.”
Constant Rosales announced that his country “maintains and will continue to cultivate broad and active cooperation with this Council, its mechanisms and the Treaty Bodies created, on the basis of non-interference, sovereignty and respect. And this is an additional reason that explains the impertinence of the inquisitor mandate that summons us today”, describing as a “politicized grotesque of selectivity and interference” the “so-called Fact Verification Mission, which shamefully instrumentalizes human rights against Venezuela”.
Among the NGOs that were able to intervene in the debate, the intervention of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) stood out, which condemned “the systematic and continued impunity in Venezuela.” He highlighted “the appointment last year of new Supreme Court magistrates, who did not meet international standards of judicial independence and has done nothing to end impunity.”
In turn, the ICJ deplored “the persistent threats and restrictions on civic space by the Venezuelan political authoritiesthe persecution and stigmatization of people and civil society organizations that work for accountability, and support the victims of serious human rights violations”. NGO, which “if approved, would give rise to unfair and arbitrary sanctions.”
Leopoldo López, former mayor of Chacao from 2000 to 2008, political leader of Voluntad Popular, opponent of the government of Nicolás Maduro, now in exile in Spain, gave an account of his sentence to 14 years in prison in Venezuela, “four in solitary confinement ”. He reported that he had already given testimony to the ICC, “an opportunity to seek impartial justice, unfortunately we only found it out after we were denied justice in our country.”
“The pure truth is that in Venezuela there is no rule of law or justice. Maduro’s representatives and some of his international allies speak of non-existent improvements in the protection of human rights. Not only is it false, but the situation continues to deteriorate,” he stated.
“We have heard that the cause of the calamitous situation is due to the sanctions imposed, this is also false. It is a tactic by Maduro and similar regimes to deflect responsibility. The responsibility is only yours ”, he sentenced.
“As a Venezuelan citizen and as a victim of unfair justice, I praise the effort made by this” UN Mission, “to give visibility to the atrocities that Maduro and his representatives continue to impose on the Venezuelan people, the only way to improve human rights in Venezuela is through the rule of law and democracy and that means a political change,” he concluded.
*From Geneva, Juan Gasparini
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