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Venezuela - Universal Periodic Review - Civil and Political Rights - July 2021

Date: July 15, 2021
Country: Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)
Type: Intl Mechanism Submission
Issues: Detention, Enforced Disappearance, Expression and Opinion, Torture
Mechanism: Universal Periodic Review
Report Type: Stakeholder Report
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The Advocates for Human Rights submitted a stakeholder report relating to civil and political rights in Venezuela for the40th session of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review. 

Human rights conditions in Venezuela have worsened since its second Universal Period Review in 2016, especially with regard to freedom of expression and the unlawful persecution of those who speak out against President Maduro and his government. Several asylum-seeking clients that The Advocates has represented reported they were harassed, detained, or tortured by colectivos, paramilitary groups that work in conjunction with the government in various capacities. Security forces and authorities continue to subject individuals to ill-treatment and torture during arrest and detentionincluding  sexual violence and inadequate detention conditionsEnforced disappearances and arbitrary arrests of political detainees continueand have increased in 2020 due to the COVID-19 state of emergency. The government has also criminalized any dissident speech such as accurate reporting ofCOVID-19as libel or slander in its efforts to suppress any criticism, and has targeted demonstrations and criminalized peaceful protest under harsh penalties. Impunity for law enforcement and other government officials accused of crimes, including human rights abuses described above, is commonplace.  

The authors of the report suggest the following recommendations for Venezuela: 

  • Ensure law enforcement conducts prompt and thorough investigations of all allegations of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. 

  • Adopt reforms to ensure the independence of the security forces from organized crime to end deep-rooted associations between official security forces and paramilitary groups in order to adequately protect individuals reporting cases of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. 

  • Work to eliminate impunity by vigorously and impartially investigating crimes committed by State actors, prosecuting offenders, and guaranteeing appropriate remedies to victims. 

  • Ensure that detention conditions comply with the Nelson Mandela rules. 

  • Ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearances. 

  • Ensure respect for freedom of assembly for individuals engaging in peaceful demonstrations, in accordance with the Constitution. 

  • Ensure respect for freedom of opinion and expression for individuals engaging in peaceful demonstrations in accordance with the Constitution.