Attacks against human-rights activists in Venezuela increased

NGO Cofavic reported that such attacks surpassed 2019 figures: there have been 100 aggressions in the first six months of 2020, compared to 84 incidents in the entire previous year.

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Human rights organizations in Venezuelan Los Llanos have documented an increase in arbitrary detentions during the quarantine. Photo by El Pitazo.

Attacks against human rights activists in Venezuela increased, with 100 incidents recorded in the first six months of 2020, compared to 84 such aggressions for all of 2019.

That is are the results of an independent study by the Committee of Relatives for the Victims (Cofavic in Spanish), an NGO devoted to the defense of human rights, revealed that the number of attacks against activists during the first half of 2020 already exceeds the figures recorded in 2019. Most of the attacks took place after the Coronavirus outbreak in mid-March.

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The capital city Caracas, one of the most violent cities on the planet, is the place with the highest number of attacks, 68 so far this year, followed by Lara state with 5, Merida with 3, as well as Cojedes and Tachira, with two each. The groups most affected were activists affiliated with NGOs, with 71 attacks recorded. Male activists have a 20% more chance of being attacked than female activists, according to the report.

Until June, the NGO counted 100 aggressions among arbitrary detentions, harassment, threats, intimidations, and stigmatizations, in contrast to the 84 cases registered in all of 2019.

The report noted that 40 of these attacks occurred in May alone after the Maduro regime announced a failed attempt at deposing it. The organization highlights that the actions of the authorities in their campaign called Bolivarian Fury and the decree of a national alarm for the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a series of power abuses.

Those situation has been used to attack, not only human rights defenders but also journalists and health personnel who try to denounce the precariousness of the Venezuelan health system.

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