Social unrest increased; there were nearly twice as many protests between January and August as in the whole of 2008. The protests were sparked by issues such as discontent over labour rights and basic services, including a new education law opposed by the private education sector and the political opposition.
The National Assembly debated the possibility of legal reforms to regulate the use and possession of small arms, including harsher sentences for possession of weapons. According to the National Assembly's Security and Defence Commission, there were between nine and 15 million illegal firearms in circulation.
Reforms to the armed forces in October included provisions allowing the creation of militias.
Ten police officers charged with criminal offences in the context of the 2002 attempted coup against President Chávez were sentenced to up to 30 years' imprisonment in April. They were convicted of homicide and grievous bodily harm against anti-coup protesters amid concerns that not all of those who committed acts of violence in the context of the attempted coup had been brought to justice.
Journalists were harassed, intimidated and threatened. At least 34 radio stations had their licences revoked for non-compliance with statutory telecommunications regulations. However, as noted in August by the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the authorities' public statement that these stations "play[ed] at destabilizing Venezuela" indicated that their editorial stance could have been the actual reason behind the closure.
There was concern that a draft law which would criminalize the dissemination of information in media outlets which was "false" and could "harm the interest of the state" could undermine freedom of information and expression. The law remained before the National Assembly at the end of the year.
In August, staff at the Caracas offices of the television channel Globovisión were attacked by armed men. Teargas grenades were thrown and one of the security guards was beaten. Globovisión was widely regarded as opposing government policies. In January, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued a ruling ordering the authorities to investigate reports of intimidation and physical and verbal attacks against Globovisión staff. No investigation had been initiated by the end of the year. Repression of dissent
Members of opposition political parties were harassed, threatened and intimidated, including by the use of spurious criminal charges. On several occasions the security forces failed to intervene when government supporters physically attacked suspected opponents.
Progress in the investigation and prosecution of cases of domestic violence remained slow. More courts and prosecutors' offices specializing in dealing with gender-based violence were established. However, the numbers remained insufficient to deal with the high volume of cases. The Public Prosecutor's Office in Caracas stated that it had received more than 12,000 complaints between January and August and that only half of those received could be dealt with.
Amnesty International will participate in public hearings on protests and security in Honduras and on limits of access to asylum in the United States, as well as side events on institutional violence and discrimination against women engaged in sex work in the Americas, and on women’s sexual and reproductive rights in Venezuela, during the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ 173rd Period of Sessions from September 23 to October 2 in Washington DC.
Selective extrajudicial executions, arbitrary detentions, and deaths and injuries caused by the excessive use of force by Nicolás Maduro’s government as part of a systematic and widespread policy of repression since at least 2017 may constitute crimes against humanity, said Amnesty International today in its new report on the events in Venezuela in late January 2019: Hungry for justice: crimes against humanity in Venezuela.
The countries of Latin America and the Caribbean must not impose barriers that hinder the entry of people fleeing the human rights crisis in Venezuela, nor return anyone to that country given the risk they run of suffering human rights violations, said Amnesty International today on the launch of its Welcome Venezuela campaign.
In the context of the arrival of international aid, and in response to multiple complaints of the use of force and attacks on demonstrators with firearms – including AK-type rifles – in Santa Elena de Uairén, Bolívar state, and in other areas of Venezuela, which have resulted in at least two deaths and 22 people …
In response to reports that at least a dozen people were killed in the context of the protests in Venezuela, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, said: “Since the beginning of the week, thousands of people in Venezuela have taken to the streets to protest the serious institutional and human rights crisis that has …
On Saturday, December 8, human rights organization Amnesty International USA in partnership with live music events startup Sofar Sounds will host a powerful evening of collective action along with an intimate concert experience in New York City. The event, Write for Rights, is aimed at securing justice for women human rights defenders under threat and …
Women human rights defenders around the world are facing unprecedented levels of abuse, intimidation and violence, said Amnesty International as it launched its global Write for Rights campaign, in a bid to shine a spotlight on brave women who have been harassed, jailed, tortured or even killed for their human rights work. Women continue to …
Authorities in the Caribbean island of Curaçao, part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, must protect people who are fleeing the human rights crisis in nearby Venezuela and put an end to the appalling conditions they face upon reaching Curaçao, said Amnesty International in a report published today.
Regional leaders must prioritize the protection of human rights in their final declaration at the VIII Summit of the Americas and take immediate action to fulfil that commitment in their respective countries, Amnesty International said ahead of the summit in Lima, Peru, tomorrow. “From the discriminatory polices pushed by the Donald Trump administration to the …
Severe violations of the right to health, as well as difficulties accessing food and other basic services, are putting thousands of people’s lives at risk in Venezuela and fueling a regional forced migration crisis, Amnesty International said today on the launch of its digital platform Emergency Exit.