• Press Release

Venezuela: Acts of violence highlight government’s disregard for human rights

July 31, 2017

Since 4 April, there have been at least 60 people reported dead and 1,000 injured in the context of the political crisis, according to official figures. According to local NGOs, hundreds of people have been unfairly imprisoned in the context of massive anti-government demonstrations that have been taking place across Venezuela. More than 300 people are believed to have been taken to military courts, accused of crimes such as “rebellion”, “terrorism” and “treason”, and effectively treated like soldiers in an armed conflict. Over recent weeks, security forces have used undue force to prevent peaceful demonstrations from taking place. Individuals living in residential areas, and not taking part in demonstrations, have also reported being victims of indiscriminate tear gas attacks. The community in La Isabelica, Carabobo, is a striking example of the extent of the indiscriminate use of violence against people not involved in the recent wave of protests. Amnesty International has received direct reports of random shootings against civilians, tear gas being shot straight into homes, and a sense of generalized fear to report these incident to the authorities.
The dramatic increase in illegal use of force, scores of arbitrary detentions and the killing of at least 10 people, among other worrying attacks against the people of Venezuela recorded this weekend, confirm a consistent pattern of deteriorating human rights in the country, said Amnesty International.

“President Maduro and his government appear to be living in a parallel universe,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

“The authorities cannot continue to ignore the tension and violence and should respond to the urgent needs of the entire population, including those who do not agree with the government.”

“The use of lethal force in Venezuela must stop immediately. The authorities must carry out impartial investigations in civil courts into all acts of violence, regardless of who is responsible. Immediate action must be taken to put an end to arbitrary detentions, killings and other serious human rights violations.”

Illegal use of force has dramatically increased in the country. According to the Venezuelan Public Ministry, on the day of the elections for the National Constituent Assembly in Venezuela at least 10 people died, including teenagers.

Indiscriminate attacks against Venezuelan citizens have also been reported, including shootings and firing of tear gas in residential areas and near hospitals in addition to scores of people hurt by military and police forces and armed civilian groups.