Thursday, March 19, 2015

IACHR Requests Venezuela Adopt Precautionary Measures for Human Rights Defenders

The following is taken from a March 18, 2015 communication from the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR):

"On March 17, 2015, IACHR decided to request that precautionary measures be adopted for Alfredo Romero and Luis Betancourt (members of the Foro Penal Venezolano, or Venezuelan Penal Forum) and Yoseth Comenares (sister of the Foro Penal Venezolano’s regional coordinator in the state of Táchira), in Venezuela. The request for precautionary measures alleges that the beneficiaries are at risk because of their activities as human rights defenders and a series of stigmatizing statements reportedly made by high-level State officials concerning the organization’s work. After analyzing the allegations of fact and law, the Commission believes that the information shows, prima facie, that the beneficiaries are in a serious and urgent situation, as their life and physical integrity are said to be at risk. Consequently, in accordance with Article 25 of its Rules of Procedure, the Commission asked the State of Venezuela to adopt the necessary measures to guarantee the life and physical integrity of Alfredo Romero, Luis Betancourt, and Yoseth Comenares, and to ensure that the members of the organization Foro Penal Venezolano can carry out their activities as human rights defenders without being subject to acts of violence and harassment as a result of doing their work. In addition, the Commission requested that the State come to an agreement with the beneficiaries and their representatives as to the measures to be adopted, and that it inform the Commission regarding the actions taken to investigate the alleged incidents that gave rise to the adoption of this precautionary measure, and thus avoid a recurrence of similar incidents."

Human Rights Watch has accused Venezuela of committing systematic human rights abuses against human rights defenders.  The United States has also expressed increasing concern about human rights in Venezuela.  The U.S. Congress passed a bill in December giving the president additional authority to impose sanctions on Venezuela.  U.S. President Barack Obama exercised that authority earlier this month when he issued an Executive Order declaring that Venezuela poses a threat to U.S. national security and imposing targeted sanctions on certain persons from Venezuela.

(cgb)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/international_law/2015/03/iachr-requests-venezuela-adopt-precautionary-measures-for-human-rights-defenders.html

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