Sunday, September 21, 2008
Several news sources reported recently that the Venezuelan government expelled two senior activists from Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Friday who criticized President Hugo Chavez for political intolerance and for eroding democracy. The HRW activists, Jose Miguel Vivanco and Daniel Wilkerson, stated that their phones were confiscated and they were denied the right to speak with their consulates when Venezuelan officials came to their hotel around midnight, forced them to leave hurriedly, took them to the airport, and put them on the first plane leaving Caracas. Venezuela's actions likely violate Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. Venezuela is a party to both treaties.