Venezuela: Human rights organizations call on UN Human Rights Council to extend and strengthen Fact-Finding Mission

Today, 84 national and international human rights organizations have launched a call on states at the UN Human Rights Council to renew and strengthen the important mandate of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Venezuela during the upcoming Council session in September. States should ensure that the Fact-Finding Mission has sufficient funding and is empowered to collect, consolidate, preserve and analyze evidence for future prosecutions or other accountability purposes, including international justice mechanisms, in order to avoid impunity for crimes under international law and gross human rights violations committed in Venezuela.

The Fact-Finding Mission was launched by the Human Rights Council through resolution 42/25 on September 27 of 2019, with a mandate to investigate human rights violations, including extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions and torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment since 2014, with a view to ensuring accountability for perpetrators and justice for victims. Although the Mission was not allowed to enter Venezuela, it will present its report to the Human Rights Council in September 2020, when its current mandate ends.

The need for this international mechanism to continue to investigate and report on crimes under international law and human rights violations in Venezuela is clear in a context where they continue unabated, despite heightened international scrutiny, and impunity for these crimes at a national level is the rule.  

Millions in Venezuela continue to suffer violations of the rights to life, freedom, physical and mental integrity or access to justice. The COVID-19 pandemic has only compounded and worsened the humanitarian emergency in the country, where many people face difficulties in accessing health care services, water, food, fuel, electricity and gas, all of which hamper their ability to protect themselves from the pandemic. More than 5.2 million Venezuelans have fled the country due to the human rights, humanitarian, political and economic crisis in their country. Meanwhile, the pandemic has also served as a twisted justification for Nicolás Maduro’s government to continue and expand its crackdown on dissent, including health care workers and journalists. 

These serious human rights violations and crimes under international law are facilitated by generalized impunity at the national level. As many organizations have reported, and a recent UN High Commissioner for Human Rights report has made clear, Venezuela’s justice system lacks independence and systemically fails to provide impartial justice to victims of human rights violations. Instead, Maduro’s administration is using it to criminalize and control the population. 

The publication of the Fact-Finding Mission’s first report in September will mark an important first step on the path to accountability in Venezuela through the documentation of the participation of those suspected of criminal responsibility. It is critical that the Human Rights Council respond meaningfully to the findings and recommendations in the report. States need to ensure the full renewal and strengthening of the Fact-Finding Mission’s mandate and make sure it has adequate resources to continue its critical investigations.

National and international organizations:

  • A.C. Reforma Judicial
  • Acceso a la Justicia
  • Acción Solidaria
  • ACCSI Acción Ciudadana Contra el SIDA
  • Alerta Venezuela
  • Alianza de Familiares de Víctimas del 2017 (ALFAVIC2017)
  • Amnesty International
  • Asociación Civil Fuerza, Unión, Justicia, Solidaridad y Paz (FUNPAZ)
  • Asociación Civil Mujeres en Línea
  • Asociación Gremial Pensionados y Jubilados en Venezuela residentes en Chile
  • Asociación Venezolana en Chile
  • Aula Abierta
  • Caleidoscopio Humano
  • Canada Venezuela Democracy Forum
  • Cátedra de Derechos Humanos de la Univerisidad Centrooocidental Lisandro Alvarado
  • Catedra de la Paz y Derechos Humanos Mons Oscar Arnulfo Romero de la Universidad de los Andes
  • Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL)
  • Centro de Acción y Defensa por los Derechos Humanos
  • Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad Católica Andrés Bello (CDH-UCAB)
  • Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad Metropolitana (CDH-Unimet),
  • Centro de Documentación en Derechos Humanos "Segundo Montes Mozo SJ" (CSMM)
  • Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS)
  • Centro de Formación para la Democracia CFD
  • Centro de Justicia y Paz (CEPAZ)
  • Centro para los Defensores y la Justicia (CDJ)
  • Centro para los Derechos Civiles y Políticos (CCPR)
  • CISFEM (Centro de Invetig. Soc. Formación y Estudios de las Mujeres.
  • Civilis Derechos Humanos
  • Clínica Jurídica de Migrantes y Refugiados de la Universidad Diego Portales
  • Clínica Jurídica para Migrantes y Centro de Estudios en Migración, Universidad de los Andes
  • Codhez
  • COFAVIC
  • Comisión de Derechos Humanos de la Facultad de Ciencias Jurídicas y Políticas de la Universidad del Zulia
  • Conectas Direitos Humanos
  • Control Ciudadano para la Seguridad, la Defensa y la Fuerza Armada Nacional
  • Convite AC
  • Defensa en Acción
  • Defiende Venezuela
  • EPIKEIA. Observatorio Universitario de Derechos Humanos
  • Espacio Público
  • EXCUBITUS Derechos Humanos en Educación
  • Foro Penal
  • FH
  • FUNCAMAMA
  • Fundación Aguaclara
  • Fundación Apure Lidera
  • Fundación colombo venezolana Nueva Ilusión
  • Fundación para el Desarrollo Integral FUNDESI
  • Fundación Ramón Devia
  • Fundamujer
  • Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (GCR2P)
  • GobiérnaTec
  • Gritemos con Brío
  • Human Rights Institute World Jurist Association
  • Human Rights Watch
  • International Commission of Jurists
  • International Service for Human Rights
  • Justicia Capítulo Venezuela
  • Monitor de Derechos Humanos
  • Monitor Social A.C.
  • Movimiento Ciudadano Dale Letra
  • Movimiento Vinotinto
  • Mujeres Con Voluntad
  • Observatorio de derechos humanos de la Universidad de Los Andes
  • Observatorio Global de Comunicaciones y Democracia (OGCD)
  • Observatorio Penal Mérida OPEM-DDHH
  • Observatorio Venezolano de derechos humanos de las Mujeres
  • Observatorio Venezolano de la Salud
  • Observatorio Venezolano de Prisiones
  • OPEM- DDHH
  • Prepara Familia
  • PROMEDEHUM
  • Provea
  • Red Jesuita con Migrantes América Latina y el Caribe (RJM LAC)
  • Servicio Jesuita a Refugiados Latinoamérica y el Caribe
  • Sinergia
  • Sociedad Hominis Iura (SOHI)
  • StopVIH
  • Unión Afirmativa
  • Un Mundo Sin Mordaza
  • Venezuelans and Immigrants Aid (VIA)
  • Voto Joven
  • With and for the Friends the Fernando Alban
  • Women's Link Worldwide
  • For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Carlos Mendoza: carlos.mendoza@amnesty.org