Human rights experts of the United Nations (UN) urged this Friday, December 18, that the government of Nicolas Maduro put an end to repression against civil society humanitarian aid organizations.
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“Since November 2020, Venezuela has systematically stigmatized and persecuted civil society organizations, dissident voices, and human rights defenders, and this must end,” the experts said.
Venezuela is going through a complex, hyperinflation-addled, humanitarian crisis, complicated by the political confrontation between the opposition-held National Assembly legislative and Maduro, who will not relinquish power even as 60 countries refuse to recognize him as President of Venezuela.
“Given the worrying socio-economic situation in which the country finds itself, which has worsened during the pandemic, national and international civil society organizations are essential than ever to guarantee access to basic needs and services while respecting human rights,” they stressed in a statement.
The experts called on the members of the new National Assembly elected last week to pass laws protecting NGOs and human rights defenders, in line with Venezuela’s international human rights obligations.
They also encouraged the new National Assembly, scheduled to take office on January 5, 2021, to abolish the current Anti-Hate Law of 2017 that experts say has been used to silence human rights defenders and critical voices.
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“Freedom of association and freedom of expression are essential pillars of a democratic society,” the experts said. “Venezuela must stop trying to control civil society organizations and stop publicly stigmatizing their leaders and criminalizing the work of civil society and human rights defenders.”
Maduro wanted in the US for narco-terrorism, has a $15 million bounty on his head, is the first Latin American and first Venezuelan head of state ever to be specially designated by the US, only one of six leaders in history to receive that designation. The International Criminal Court has been investigating the Maduro regime since 2018 and said this week that the investigation evolves to Phase 3, meaning the court has reasons to believe crimes against humanity committed by its government.
Information from the UN.