Washington, D.C. October 19th, 2015.- Human rights organizations reported on the grave human rights situation in Venezuela this morning, highlighting extrajudicial executions, high levels of violence against women and defenders of human rights, as well as impunity and the situation on the border with Colombia.
The Center for Justice and International Lawl (CEJIL); the Comité de Familiares de Víctimas de los Sucesos de Febrero-Marzo de 1989 (COFAVIC); Vicaría de Derechos Humanos de la Arquidiócesis de Caracas, Amnesty International, and the World Organization Against Torture presented their observations to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Venezuelan State on the current situation of rights violations in the country.
"In 2015, there have been 590 cases of extrajudicial executions, which represents an increase of 18% from the same period in 2014," said Liliana Ortega, Executive Director of COFAVIC. "60% of human rights violations occurred in the context of public safety operations. It is worrying that the majority of these cases have no conclusive resolutions, with convictions. This results in the proliferation of these crimes. "
It is estimated that in 2014, 8,049 cases of alleged human rights violations were reported. However only 105 of these cases ever went to trial , or 1.3%. In addition, of the 31,096 complaints of human rights violations received between 2011 and 2014 just over 3% have resulted in an indictment by the public prosecutor's office. Moreover, in cases of violence against women, impunity rates linger at 96%.
"In 2014, the Attorney General's office recorded 70,763 cases of violence against women, of which only 0.7% went to trial,"said Maria Noel Leoni, attorney for CEJIL," We ask the Commission to urge the government to urgently implement the necessary measures to prevent, investigate and punish such violations."
As an additional point of concern, the situation of Colombian migrants on the Colombian-Venezuelan border was also highlighted during the hearing.
"We are particularly concerned about the situation in Venezuela's border with Colombia," said Jose Gregorio, representative of the Vicaría de Derechos Humanos de la Arquidiócesis de Caracas. "We have seen massive deportations of Colombian citizens that were carried out without ensuring their right to due process. Many of these people have been forced to leave with only what they were wearing. After they were removed, their homes raided and many were separated from their families. "
Harassment campaigns and serious threats against human rights defenders were also discussed, underscoring that in 2014 and so far in 2015, the situation at-risk situation of defenders has been presented before various international human rights bodies.
"This is the first time that Amnesty attends a hearing before the IACHR on the situation in Venezuela. We are extremely concerned about reprisals that occur when advocates and defenders try to access justice, particularly to international bodies," said Marco Gomez of Amnesty International.
At the conclusion of the hearing, petitioners urged the Commission to analyze and monitor the effects of the Operativo de Liberación del Pueblo, a highly militarized public security plan.
They also asked the Commission to take note of the increase in extrajudicial executions; to follow up the situation of violence against women and impunity ; to issue a special report on the situation of the right to defend human rights in Venezuela, or for the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression to draft an impact study on how this issue affects human rights advocates.
Finally, the petitioners asked the Commission to consider as particularly pressing its protective role, as an entity that grants precautionary measures and monitors human rights violations.