Urgent Action: Venezuelan Refugees Persecuted and Deported (Bolivia: UA 40.19)
On 17 March, police and immigration officers arbitrarily detained 14 Venezuelan refugees (three women and 11 men) at a shelter in La Paz, Bolivia, who had participated in a peaceful demonstration at the Cuban Embassy against human rights violations in Venezuela on 15 March. Officers took them to an immigration office, interrogated them and accused them of “conspiracy” and “political activities in exchange for money”, violating their right to due process. That same day, six of them were arbitrarily deported to Peru, which was the entry point to Bolivia. The remaining eight, who had applied for asylum, were released but five subsequently fled to Peru fearing further persecution. Those released who remain in Bolivia currently fear persecution and arbitrary deportation. According to local organizations and witnesses, many were ill-treated and threatened by police officers. Urge the Minister of Government to stop persecuting and arbitrarily deporting Venezuelan refugees in need of international protection.