Venezuela must halt its escalating campaign of attacks and harassment against human rights activists and instead publicly support their crucial and legitimate work, said Amnesty International as the country faces a hearing at the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights on Monday 19 October.
“Defending human rights in Venezuela has become an increasingly dangerous occupation with activists harassed and attacked for criticizing the authorities,” said Marcos Gómez, Director at Amnesty International Venezuela, who will represent the organization at the hearing.
Defending human rights in Venezuela has become an increasingly dangerous occupation with activists harassed and attacked for criticizing the authoritiesMarcos Gómez, Director at Amnesty International Venezuela.
In recent weeks, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has publicly criticized the work of human rights organizations and activists. In a televised speech on 21 August he discredited Marino Alvarado, a member of local human rights group Provea, stating his organization was right-wing and questioning its work.
A few weeks later, on 1 October, armed men attacked Marino Alvarado in his doorway as he arrived home with his nine-year-old son. An investigation has been launched and the Public Ministry has requested protection measures for him and his family.
“Unless the authorities at the highest level send a clear message that human rights defenders play a fundamental role in Venezuelan society by contributing to the protection of everybody’s human rights and encourage their work and participation in the public space, attacks like this one will continue,” said Marcos Gómez.