Political repression in Venezuela: Justice International sent an urgent alert to ICHR about impact on political and civil rights Featured

Caracas, August 30, 2016

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

1889 F Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20006 United States.-

Subject: Urgent alert to the potential impact of political and civil rights as a result of political repression in the face of protests scheduled and spontaneous protests to happen in Venezuela due to the political, social, economic and humanitarian crisis.

We are writing to you on behalf of Justicia Internacional, an organization dedicated to the defense of human rights, with the objective of requesting your urgent attention and timely pronouncement regarding the protection of political and civil rights of the Venezuelan people. Given the increase in protests and demonstrations that have been occurring as a result of the political, economic and humanitarian crisis that the country is experiencing and the political persecution and repression, in addition to the alarming situation of violation of human rights of which they have been victims in different occasions the Venezuelan citizens.It is the duty of the IACHR to take precautionary measures, given the repressive actions carried out by State agencies on different occasions, as well as violent attacks by armed groups against some citizens during scheduled and spontaneous peaceful protests. It is necessary and timely for the IACHR to take measures in this regard, because events of this type could occur in the coming days. The purpose of this letter is to activate mechanisms for the protection of human rights.

In accordance with Article 41 and 44 of the American Convention on Human Rights that instruct the IACHR regarding the protection mechanisms that give authority to any person, group or non-governmental organization to direct petitions and other communications, including missives with urgent warnings about the potential violation of a protected right within the framework of the American Convention (article 44) or through the universal system of human rights. It is not secret that the Venezuelan State has demonstrated a systematic behavior of violation of human rights linked to mechanisms of political repression.

Repeated violations of the law, political demonstration, freedom of expression, freedom of association, as well as violations of political participation, free expression of thought, freedom and conscientious objection are observed, understanding that The exercise of these rights must be weighed in relation to others, such as the right to life, physical integrity and free transit through the national territory.

The recurrent nature of political repression, corroborated by actions of obvious similarity over time, and given its geographical expansion throughout the national territory, demonstrate the intimidating, protagónico and premeditated nature that the Venezuelan State has observed before the expression of members of the political opposition to the government be this in electoral processes, acts of protest, or acts of political expression enshrined in the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. It is important to highlight that States must adopt measures to promote, maintain and strengthen pluralism, tolerance and an open attitude towards dissension in society, and in the same way they must respect and protect equally those who express divergent opinions. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in its article 21 and the American Convention on Human Rights in its article 15, recognize the right of peaceful assembly and without arms.

The recurrent nature of political repression, corroborated by actions of obvious similarity over time, and given its geographical expansion throughout the national territory, demonstrate the intimidating, protagónico and premeditated nature that the Venezuelan State has observed before the expression of members of the political opposition to the government be this in electoral processes, acts of protest, or acts of political expression enshrined in the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. It is important to highlight that States must adopt measures to promote, maintain and strengthen pluralism, tolerance and an open attitude towards dissension in society, and in the same way they must respect and protect equally those who express divergent opinions. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in its article 21 and the American Convention on Human Rights in its article 15, recognize the right of peaceful assembly and without arms.

The need to defend collectively the right to a peaceful demonstration, the right to protest and the right to revoke the Venezuelan government electorally, as established in its Constitution, as well as to distinguish the Venezuelan population as a beneficiary of The actions we request in this document are established to the extent that political repression demands protection of universal rights that affect, immediately and urgently, the Venezuelan population. In the media of Venezuela and the world, in various reports, research and studies of professionals and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) dedicated to the subject of human rights, among others, there are numerous references to facts that show the seriousness, breadth and the extent of political repression in Venezuela, as well as its systematic and / or generalized nature.

These facts, discussed briefly in the annex below and presented in greater detail in their respective documentation, are related to a series of emblematic events and periods in Venezuela's recent history, namely: the post-election crisis of the presidential elections of 2013; the massacre of February 12, 2014 and the subsequent demonstrations of the years 2014-2015; parliamentary elections of December 2015; and the demonstrations for the political, economic and humanitarian crisis of the current year. We want to thank you in advance for your good pro regarding this initiative in defense of the human rights of Venezuelan citizens. Knowing also the obligation of the IACHR to act with respect to such petitions and communications in accordance with subsection "f" of article 41 previously cited, we proceed to alert the Commission about the potential effects on fundamental rights of Venezuelan citizens in view of the increase in the citizen protest and the peaceful demonstration in Venezuela in the face of the political, economic and humanitarian crisis that this country is experiencing due to the actions of the Venezuelan State organisms in matters of political repression, and consequently, we request the IACHR to carry out monitoring and enforcement work of the peaceful protest called by the different opposition factors for this September 1 of this year.

As can be seen in the brief annexed chronology that describes the relationship between protest and political repression in recent times in Venezuela, both the nature of the conduct and the systematic violations by the different Venezuelan State security forces justify this letter of warning on the occasion of the mobilizations to be held on September 1, organized by the opposition to the government, in order to alert the IACHR about this situation and request that the Venezuelan State take measures to protect the rights enshrined in the Constitution and International Treaties signed and ratified by Venezuela, in terms of the protection of human rights, and specifically on the political rights of Venezuelan citizens. Given the pattern of behavior observed by the Venezuelan State and its violation of the aforementioned rights.

We request that the protection actions be of a collective nature insofar as the political repression has not distinguished a specific group or region. Likewise, political repression has shown a systematic character that has been radicalized over time. In addition, and in accordance with the American Convention on Human Rights, and its Article 44, we request the IACHR to comply with the mandate to ensure human rights, and urge the Venezuelan government to comply with its obligation to guarantee the respect and integrity of people who exercise the right to peaceful demonstration, as well as ensuring individual guarantees.

With nothing more to communicate, in the name of International Justice, I send you my sincere goodbyes, your servant, Omar Arenas Pérez Internationalist Lawyer-International Justice www.JusticiaInternacional.orgTlf: +1 (650) 8140730 (Direct) Tlf: +1 (650) 3181852 (Whatsapp).

 

 

Annex: The Right to Peaceful Manifestation and Political Repression in Venezuela Crisis Post-presidential elections of 2013. The reference to post-presidential political repression of 2013 is not only important because of the excessive state violence observed at that time. More important is the fact that this repression is considered to be the origin of a pattern of behavior, of a systematic process of state repression observed to date, which has been the object of denunciations for crimes against humanity in the International Criminal Court of The Hague.

The attached document "The Massacre of February 12 or the Day of Youth", presents in greater detail the events that occurred during the protests that took place in the post-election period of the 2013 presidential election. It also discusses its relationship with another emblematic event that marked the beginning of a new stage of repression: The Massacre of February 12, 2014. Massacre of February 12 and subsequent demonstrations On February 12, 2014, the day of youth in Venezuela killed two students at demonstrations in Caracas to hands of members of the public force.

In the following months the death toll in demonstrations reached 43 in 2014. These deaths were part of an unprecedented wave of repression in Venezuela and the world, whose balance at the end of the year was alarming in magnitude. By the end of 2014, the Venezuelan Criminal Forum, an NGO that has had an outstanding performance in the defense of victims of human rights violations, observed that since February 4 to date, there have been 3408 detentions in Venezuela related to the demonstrations that have occurred since the day of youth, among which 2576 students and 279 minors or adolescents are found, indicating: "The Criminal Forum has observed and shared with UN representatives that this number of people arrested for demonstrations could be the highest in the world in a country where there is no war or armed conflict, especially if it is analyzed by number of inhabitants.

Most likely, it is the largest number of students arrested for protesting in history. " By May 2016, the same NGO said: "From January 2014 to June 30, 2016, has registered 5,853 arrests, arrests or incarcerations linked to different demonstrations, by expressions on social networks, and protests for food shortages, cuts programmed electricity and lack of water, against the government in Venezuela. Currently, 1,998 people are facing restrictive measures to their liberty and under judicial procedures, and 96 remain behind bars and 20 people arrested in Aroa, Yaracuy State, which despite having been decreed their release under anza, on June 9 of 2016, they are still imprisoned for procedural irregularities. "The attached document" Report on Political Repression Report on the Repression of the Venezuelan State January 2014 - June 2016 "contains a detailed description of the repression facts alleged for this emblematic period in relation to to the persecution and political repression in Venezuela.

Parliamentary Elections December 2015 Violence has become a common practice in Venezuelan electoral processes where paramilitary entities and armed groups violently attack citizens who express themselves electorally, often inflicting damage to the physical integrity of defenseless citizens, these groups armed, affectionate to the government, they carry high caliber firearms, and sometimes they use them to intimidate candidates and their followers, during acts and electoral campaigns, situations of violence have also been presented, as well as in visits and scheduled citizen assemblies in different parts of the country.

The lack of condemnatory statements and denunciation by the National Electoral Council (CNE) and the complacency of the police and other agencies responsible for public order in the face of these events that threaten fundamental rights such as free political expression, citizen participation and the right to life, liberty and personal security must not only be condemned but also denounced by all electoral missions adjusted to electoral observation, guaranteeing the respect and normal functioning of the fundamental principles of human rights.

On November 25, 2015, Democratic Action party leader Luis Manuel Díaz was assassinated in an electoral ceremony in Altagracia de Orituco. The OAS, Unasur and Amnesty International condemned the act and called for an independent investigation. From the point of view of the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), the killing of Diaz would be the epitome of a series of violent attacks allegedly perpetrated by government groups on various opposition campaign activities throughout the country during that campaign electoral.

The acts of violence that occurred during the demonstrations are not only an aspect of concern in the pre-electoral stage. Previous experiences, such as the case of the aforementioned 2013 presidential election, suggest that the international electoral and human rights monitoring system must be vigilant regarding the use of intimidation and the threat to physical integrity during the same election process and the post-electoral stage, as well as in different political events and tours. Manifestations in relation to the humanitarian crisis at the end of 2015-2016 The crisis that sparked the 2014 protests rages towards the end of 2015. Today, Venezuela is experiencing a social, political and economic crisis of considerable magnitude. The struggle for power in Venezuela has resulted in a political and human rights crisis widely known by the international community.

Today, Venezuela ranks second in the statistics of violent deaths per capita in the world. The daily life of the economy of the Venezuelan family is affected by the highest inflation in the world and levels of shortages of products and consequently of basic services without historical precedents for this South American country. Two key references to understand in its amplitude and seriousness the current Venezuelan crisis are the letter convening the meeting of the Permanent Council interposed by Luis Almagro Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), as well as his subsequent speech, center of the recent discussion in the Permanent Council on the activation of the Inter-American Democratic Charter for the Venezuelan case.

Almagro exposes in these documents the "alteration of the constitutional order and how it seriously affects the democratic order of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela." Almagro also includes the issue of the food and humanitarian crisis in the health sector in Venezuela, as part of the facts alleged in the discussion that would justify the activation of a dialogue on the state of democracy in Venezuela within the framework of the regulations stipulated in the Inter-American Democratic Charter. It should be noted that the Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict (OVCS) registered at least 3,507 protests in the first semester of 2016. An average of 19 daily protests throughout the national territory. The balance in the month of June represents an increase of 24% compared to the protests documented in the first six months of 2015. In the first six months of the current year, the OVCS documented 3,507 protests, characterized by: Popular protests, protests massive, spontaneous protests, food protests, potable water service and electricity, in addition to nighttime protests throughout the national territory.

These demonstrations have generated clashes with the forces of law and order, on which the IACHR issued the following terms: "The IACHR expresses its deep concern at the acts of violence and tension arising from this context of food and medicine shortages in Venezuela. In this context speculators groups popularly known as "bachaqueros" have proliferated, acts of corruption, confrontations between individuals, looting of stores and shopping centers and violence exercised within the framework of the different manifestations that have been occurring spontaneously, and acts of protest Social. In the context of protests against inflation and the shortage of food, medicines and other basic goods, there would have been clashes between protesters and the public forces in which people were killed and wounded. The Commission reiterates that the use of force in the context of a social protest must be exceptional and must be governed by the principles of legality, necessity and proportionality. The IACHR has manifested its concern regarding the declaration of the State of emergency and economic emergency in Venezuela in its press release of June 1, 2016 and has continued to monitor this situation."

The organization Amnesty International (AI) also warned that the state of exception declared by the Government of Nicolás Maduro last May "puts the fragile situation of human rights in greater risk" in that country. They also point out that Venezuela is going through a serious crisis, which affects the rights of the population, characterized by the shortage of food and medicines, the high rates of homicides and violence, and the low level of electricity generation. On the eve of the so-called "Toma de Caracas" to be held on September 1, the political persecution of members of the Venezuelan opposition has intensified. The most affected party has been the Popular Will party which declares to be the victim of an attack against it. Through a video that organization argues that in the last three days several of its members have been the target of actions: "the first day they revoke Daniel Ceballos, former mayor of the city of San Cristóbal, his house arrest and transfer him to the jail "26 de Julio", the same day they transfer to Francisco Márquez and Gabriel San Miguel to the jail of Tocuyito, a common criminal, the next day they raid the house of Lester Toledo, deputy for the Zulia State, they went to Delson's house Guarate, mayor of a municipality in the State of Aragua, and recently, only 4 days after the convocation for the great march on September 1, the arbitrary arrest of the leader Yon Goicoechea occurred. "

On the latter, the press reports today that Goicochea has not had access to lawyers or family members so far. Other measures of intimidation, says a Communiqué from the OAS General Secretariat, include: "the arrest warrant against Mayor Warner Jiménez, the harassment of the headquarters of Voluntad Popular, the arrest of Carlos Melo, the transfer of Raúl Baduel and Alexander Shot in the highly dangerous jail July 26, retention of Deputy María Hernández ... ".

The statement concludes by calling for the defense of human rights in Venezuela: "The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is particularly called upon to allow, in the broadest framework of freedom and citizen guarantees, manifestations of popular expression and to avoid measures that can encourage violence and generate confrontational climates, such as pro-government marches and demonstrations on the same day.

"Note: see original document in the annexes. The links of the base document are active for your reference, we can send it separately upon request.