The member organisations of the IFEX-ALC network condemn the Venezuelan government’s refusal to allow a 4 February visit to the country by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). The government’s refusal to allow the visit denies victims of human rights violations an opportunity to be heard within the context of the social, political and economic crisis in the country.
Limitations on seeking, receiving and disseminating information are increasingly frequent in Venezuela. On-line restrictions reached excessive levels in 2019: blockages, attacks and massive collapses in electricity services affected communications throughout the country. The disappearance of traditional media outlets due to the economic situation and the arbitrary management of the broadcasting spectrum have further reduced the spaces available for information exchange. Impediments on coverage of stories and arbitrary detentions as a retaliatory mechanism for reporting have exacerbated the situation.
During in-country visits, the IACHR documents human rights situations and observes whether international standards for rights protection are being adhered to. This allows the IACHR to identify situations that affect the rights of individuals, in order to promote processes of truth-seeking, reparations and justice.
It is important to remember that the IACHR still has authority regarding the human rights situation in Venezuela since the denunciation of the American Convention on Human Rights by the state in 2013 was not considered valid and, as such, did not result in the country’s exit from the Inter-American Human Rights System. In accordance with provisions in the country’s constitution, Venezuela must comply with Inter-American Court of Human Rights rulings and the granting of precautionary measures by the IACHR. In addition, the government must comply with obligations outlined in international covenants and agreements, which have constitutional status in Venezuela.
Blocking the IACHR’s entry to the country denies victims the opportunity to be heard and seek justice. We condemn the manner in which the government is preventing citizens from accessing regional human rights protection mechanisms since this can only serve to promote impunity, leading to a further deterioration in the already precarious situation in the country.
IFEX-ALC, which forms part of the global IFEX network, is comprised of 24 organisations in 15 Latin American and Caribbean countries dedicated to defending freedom of expression and press freedom.
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Source: MEDIA FEED