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The UN warned that torture, arbitrary arrests and persecution of the opposition continue in Venezuela

In a new report by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)led by former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet, new cases of torture, executions, arbitrary arrests and persecution of the opposition In Venezuela.

The investigation, which covers the period between May 1, 2021 and April 30, 2022, warned that, although the country presided over by Nicolás Maduro showed some progress regarding the recommendations presented in previous reports, there are still serious violations from the human rights.

In that sense, the OHCHR documented six cases in which state security forces acted in marginalized neighborhoods and left citizens dead. “In at least three of those cases, the deceased allegedly suffered torture or ill-treatment before death“, he warned.

Also, recorded “the arbitrary detention of at least 13 people” during security operations. He also received complaints of detention in “solitary confinement“, given that the relatives of the detainees did not receive information about their whereabouts for up to a month. “In at least three of these cases, the detainees were allegedly tortured or mistreated“, complete.

On the other hand, although he acknowledged progress in reducing judicial delays and the use of detention, he clarified that still “challenges persist to guarantee the right of all people accused to liberty and a fair trial without undue delay”.

Michele Bachelet, in charge of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. EFE photo.

Regarding this section, it was reported on “35 cases of violation of the right to freedomincluding six women”, while, at the time of writing the report, “at least 22 people were still subjected to coercive measures beyond the limits established in the current applicable legislation”.

They also indicated that the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued opinions stating that “11 people arrested were in arbitrary detention“.

“They were observed arbitrary arrests in the context of peaceful protestsalthough less than in previous reporting periods,” he specified.

Regarding the physical and mental integrity of detained persons, the Public Ministry “received 235 complaints about alleged human rights violations of people deprived of their liberty, including 20 related to people facing terrorism-related charges.

Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela.  Photo: REUTERS/Leonardo Fernandez Viloria.

Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela. Photo: REUTERS/Leonardo Fernandez Viloria.

For its part, the OHCHR directly received “complaints of torture or ill-treatment related to 14 people deprived of liberty” and lamented that “the lack of adequate investigations and protection against reprisals discourages victims from reporting”.

Persecution of the opposition in Venezuela

According to the report, “undue restrictions on civic and democratic space continue to be observed in Venezuela, in particular stigmatization, criminalization and threats against dissenting voicescivil society, the media and trade unionists, which affect their ability to effectively carry out their legitimate work”.

In that sense, “154 cases were documented, including 46 cases of criminalization, 26 reports of threats and harassment, 11 acts of violence and 71 cases of stigmatization of human rights defenders, journalists and other members of civil society.”

Also, at least five members of the political opposition were arrestedwhile “two union leaders and a human rights activist remained in detention at the time of writing this report”.

There were also “cases of violations of the right to freedom of opinion and expression that affect journalists, media and media workers, human rights defenders and representatives of civil society”

“34 cases were documented, including harassment, censorship and confiscation of media equipment,” the OHCHR completed.

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