A 14-year-old boy was killed during an anti-government protest amid reports of excessive use of force by the security forces. There are concerns the violence will intensify if the authorities do not send a clear message that peaceful protest is permitted and that excessive use of force will not be tolerated.
On 24 February, 14-year-old Kluiverth Roa Núñez was killed during a protest in the vicinity of the Táchira Catholic University in San Cristóbal, Táchira State. The investigative police have detained a National Police officer and charged him with the boy’s death, apparently for having fired rubber bullets directly at protesters, some of whom had reportedly thrown stones and Molotov cocktails.
Between February and July 2014, 43 people died and almost 900, including 300 police officers, were injured during the pro and anti-government protests that swept the country, which began in San Cristóbal at the beginning of February 2014. One year later, 41 individuals, including 27 civilians remain in pre-trial detention and no one has been found responsible for those killed during the protests.
In recent weeks there have been concerns that the situation is deteriorating rapidly with reports of excessive use of force by the security forces during protests, the detention of the mayor of Caracas, a judge and a lawyer and the cases of at least four students who have been found dead in unknown circumstances.
Amnesty International is concerned that the violence will intensify and more lives will be lost if the authorities do not prioritize the protection and promotion of human rights and send a clear message that excessive use of force by the security forces will not be tolerated, and that dissent and those who protest will not be persecuted.
- Conduct a prompt and impartial investigation into Kluiverth Roa Núñez’s death, for those found responsible to be brought to justice and for his family to get redress
- Ensure the rights to freedom of assembly, expression and association are respected and guarantee that people are free to peacefully express their views, including views critical of the authorities, without fear of losing their lives or their freedom
- Send an unequivocal message that the security forces will maintain public order but will only use force when strictly necessary and never against peaceful protesters.