The International Bar Association
issued the following news release:
The International Bar Association's
Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) has called on the Venezuelan Government to respect its position on the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and to fulfil its international human rights obligations. In particular, the IBAHRI urges Venezuela to conduct swift and effective investigations into the alleged human rights violations, including a growing number of reported deaths, in relation to the ongoing protests in the country.
IBAHRI Director Dr Phillip Tahmindjis AM said, 'Recent reports emanating from Venezuela of the excessive use of state force against protesters are extremely worrying. We are particularly alarmed at reports of attacks on demonstrators by paramilitary groups, or 'colectivos', that appear to be coordinated with the state police forces.' He added, 'Venezuela is a member of the UNHRC and has ratified 17 key United Nations human rights treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which guarantees - inter alia - the right to peaceful assembly, the right to life, the right to liberty and security of person, freedom from torture, and freedom of expression. Venezuela must act swiftly and demonstrate to the international community that it is serious about respecting the UN system and treaties to which it is party.'
A series of anti-government demonstrations have taken place since the beginning of February 2014. Since the start of the unrest, there have been widespread reports of arbitrary detention, the excessive use of force, torture and ill treatment, by Venezuelan security forces. Venezuelan media surrounding the protests have also been heavily censored. Transmission of international news coverage has been blocked and national media has reportedly been intimidated and threatened with prosecution for covering the demonstrations.
IBAHRI Co-Chair Sternford Moyo said, 'In times of increased political tension it is particularly important for the State to uphold the rule of law. In the case of Venezuela, this means not only effectively and quickly investigating all alleged violations of human rights, but also creating the conditions for a democratic dialogue to provide a solution to the conflict.'
Contact: Romana St. Matthew, +44 (0)7940 731 915, +44 (0)20 7842 0094, firstname.lastname@example.org
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