1 HUMAN RIGHTS IN VENEZUELA Synthesis of Reports prepared by Venezuelan Civil Society Organizations sent to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for Venezuela´s Universal Periodic ReviewThis document presents the highlights of the Reports of Venezuelan Civil Society Organizations (CSO´s), submitted to the Office of the HighCommissioner, to be taken into consideration during Venezuela´s Periodic Review, on October 7, 2011, regarding the situation of humanrights in the country. The reports were written by 144 organizations —individually or grouped in networks and coalitions—, some of themwith over 30 years working with perseverance in different areas of human rights, in a rigorous, autonomous and independent manner.The organizations endorsing this document have been informing national and international bodies about situations that seriously affecthuman rights in Venezuela, as well as about the severe obstacles and restrictions faced by human rights defenders. They are not onlysubject to threats or consequences in carrying out their work, but also find their requests for dialogue and recommendations not beingtaken into account by the authorities. This document results from the need to put together the information contained in the differentreports of the endorsing CSO´s, since none of them was called for consultation nor to participate in the preparation of the country reportby the Venezuelan State.The 35 rights affected included in this document have broad implications for freedom of association for the defense and promotion ofhuman rights, freedom of expression and access to information, the right to life and public safety —regarding institutional and socialviolence, as well as within prisons—, the guarantees to fair trial and access to justice, guarantees to environmental and social rights —particularly access to housing, health and drinking water—, and the right of everyone to be recognized and not discriminated against,especially children and adolescents, women, LGBT persons, people with HIV, indigenous people and asylum seekers.The aim of this paper is that, during its Periodic Review, the Venezuelan State accurately informs on situations of restrictions or violationsof human rights contained in the CSO´s reports, and engages in a process of dialogue in order to solve each of the concerns raised,according to their scope, severity and urgency. This document contains evidences of each of the affected human rights, as well assuggested questions and a set of recommendations, which the endorsing organizations wish to be presented to the Venezuelan Staterepresentatives, in order to contribute to the realization of human rights in Venezuela.
2 Promotion and Defense of Human Rights1 Human Rights Defenders and Organizations Foro por la Vida2 International Human Rights Obligations CDH UCAB and Provene3 Rights to Freedom of Association and Participation Sinergia, Foro por la Vida, Profesores de la UCV and Fundación Aguaclara4 Right to International Cooperation to Defend Human Rights Sinergia5 Right to Promote and Defend Political Rights CDH UCAB6 In loco visits by Representatives of international Human Rights CDH UCAB bodies7 Treaties of International Humanitarian Law Control Ciudadano8 Prohibition of Landmines Control Ciudadano9 Human Rights National Plan Provene Freedom of Expression and Access to Information10 Right to Freedom of Expression CDHUCAB, Espacio Público, Transparencia Venezuela and Sinergia11 Criminalization of Peaceful Protests and Assembly Provea12 Right to Access to Public Information CDHUCAB, Espacio Público, Transparencia Venezuela and Sinergia13 Political Violence Paz activa and Conapro14 Attacks against Journalists and Media Conapro15 Violence against Students and Youth Organizations CDH FCU Rights to Life, Liberty and Personal Safety16 Human Rights Violations by Law Enforcement Agencies Cofavic17 Civilian character of Police Forces Paz Activa and Incosec18 Rights of People Deprived of Liberty Observatorio Venezolano de Prisiones and Una Ventana a la Libertad19 Rights to Life and Personal Safety Incosec20 Availability and use of firearms Control Ciudadano
3 Guarantees to Fair Trial and Access to Justice21 Prompt and Impartial Justice Provene22 Justice in cases of human rights violations Cofavic23 Job stability of Judges and Independence of Judicial System Foro por la Vida24 Independence of the Military Judicial System Control Ciudadano25 Violence in the Union Sector and Violations of Labor Rights Provea Social and Environmental Rights26 Rights of Children and Adolescents Red DHNNA27 Women´s Rights Observatorio de DDHH de las Mujeres28 Right to Housing Provea29 Right of Present and Future Generations to Well-being Fundación Aguaclara30 Right to Universal Access to Health Provea, Acción Solidaria y Convite31 Right to Clean Water Movimiento por la Calidad del Agua Right to Non Discrimination32 Rights of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Trans Persons Unión Afirmativa, Diverlex and Fundación Reflejos33 Rights of People with HIV Provea, Acción Solidaria and Convite34 Rights of Indigenous Peoples Provea35 Rights of Asylum Seekers and Refugees CDH UCAB
4 Nº Tema Situación Preguntas Recomendaciones de los DDHH al Estado al Estado Promotion and Defense of Human Rights1 Human Rights 2010: 21 cases of violations against defenders and human Has the Venezuelan State taken actions Create the conditions for human Defenders and rights organizations (91% increase over 2009): 11 actions of to prevent these attacks on Human rights defenders and organizations Organizations vilification, 5 arbitrary arrests, 4 threats to start legal Rights Defenders and Organizations? to carry out their activities. proceedings, 3 judicial proceedings initiated, 2 assaults, 3 Why hasn´t the State undertaken Prevent violations to Defenders´ cases of intimidation, 2 limitations to the Right to Free investigations to establish rights to life and personal safety. Association, 1 case of torture and 1 case of extrajudicial responsibilities and sanctions? Investigate the aggressions in 1 2 execution . FORO POR LA VIDA . order to prevent impunity and an increase in attacks against defenders.2 International Between 2008 and 2009, the State has not complied with 6 Why hasn´t the State complied with the Comply with recommendations, Human Rights sentences by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights sentences and protective measures resolutions and decisions of the Obligations (IAHR Court). In 3 monitoring reports on sentences, the granted by regional and international international and regional human IAHR Court has noted that the Venezuelan State does not systems of protection of human rights? rights systems. comply with the Court´s decisions. The IAHR Commission Why has the State kept in custody a Implement the recommendations has issued 17 Precautionary Measures; the State has not Judge who ruled in compliance with a of the human rights bodies, 3 complied with the majority. CDH/UCAB . Resolution by the UN Working Group on especially those of the UN Since December 2009 Judge María Lourdes Afiuni has been Arbitrary Detentions? Working Group on Arbitrary deprived of her liberty, for granting probation to a detainee What measures is the State taking to Detentions. based on a Resolution by the UN Working Group on ensure compliance with its obligations Comply with the sentences and Arbitrary Detentions. The State has ignored all calls by as a signatory of the Inter-American measures of the Inter-American international and regional human rights bodies demanding Convention of Human Rights? Human Rights System, in order to 4 her freedom. CDH/UCAB . ensuring the international The Constitutional Chamber of the Venezuelan Supreme protection of the human rights of Court has refused to comply with the decisions of the IAHR Venezuelans. 5 Court. PROVENE .3 Rights to The Organic Law of the Federal Government and the Would citizens and organizations be Submit to review and wide Freedom of Organic Law of the People´s Power do not recognize as required to belong or to create a PPO in consultation the laws and Association and legitimate actors organizations not registered as “People´s order to be recognized as eligible to measures related to the so called Participation Power Organizations” (PPO´s) participate in public decisions, as “People´s Power” and the The “People´s Power” structure is created as a new State established in the Organic Law of the “Communal State”, in order to Power, in order to build the “Communal State”, different Federal Government and the Organic eliminate all provisions that affect1 The numbers may include more than one pattern of violations of HHRR and more than one person or organization.2 Foro por la Vida´s Report for the UPR: http://www.derechos.org.ve/proveaweb/wp-content/uploads/Venezuela_EPU_OCT_2011_Foro_por_la_Vida.pdf3 Andrés Bello Catholic University Human Rights Center´s Report for the UPR: http://www.derechos.org.ve/proveaweb/wp-content/uploads/EPU_ddhhUCAB.pdf4 Andrés Bello Catholic University Human Rights Center´s Report for the UPR.5 Venezuelan Probono Foundation´s Report for the UPR: http://www.derechos.org.ve/proveaweb/wp-content/uploads/EPU2011-ProVene.pdf
5 from the State defined in the Venezuelan Constitution. Law of the People´s Power? the rights to Freedom of PPO´s are defined as the “sole holders of the State´s original How will the State ensure that Association, Participation in public sovereignty”, and as the means for the “full exercise of the organizations other than PPO´s are matters and Non Discrimination people´s sovereignty in the political, economic, social, recognized as valid interlocutors, enshrined in the Venezuelan cultural, environmental and international fields, and in any without discrimination and with Constitution and International field of society´s development”. guarantees to their right to participate Covenants on Human Rights. PPO´s must register with the Executive in order to be in public decision-making? recognized as actors in the planning of public policies, legislative consultations, social comptrollership, land organization and distribution, and management of public 6 7 goods and services”. SINERGIA , FORO POR LA VIDA , 8 9 PROFESORES DE LA UCV y FUNDACIÖN AGUA CLARA . Between 2009 and 2010 public authorities carried out measures that affect Freedom of Association: suspension of subsidies, forced takeovers of Associations´ headquarters, evictions and arbitrary expropriations, denial of public information, exclusion from public decision-making spaces, censorship and administrative enquiries, all against CSO´s. 10 11 SINERGIA , FORO POR LA VIDA , PROFESORES DE LA 12 13 UCV y FUNDACIÖN AGUA CLARA .4 Right to In June 2006, the National Assembly approved, in a first How will the State guarantee the right Abide by human rights International Reading, the Draft International Cooperation Law. Over 100 to access to international cooperation, instruments that protect Cooperation to CSO´s signed a public statement rejecting the project given without discrimination, to human rights international cooperation. defend Human its restrictions and limits on access to international organizations? Refrain from imposing arbitrary Rights cooperation to promote and defend human rights. Why is international cooperation for restrictions to the right of 14 SINERGIA activities related to information, defenders and organizations to In 2010, 34 CSO´s were denounced before the General promotion and defense of human rights seek, receive and utilize Attorney´s Office accused of “treason to the Motherland” considered as a threat to Venezuela´s international funds to promote 16 for activities funded by international cooperation. independence and security? and defend human rights . The Supreme Court denied the right of “Súmate”, a political rights CSO, to carry out a “class action” before national judicial bodies, stating that it had acted as an “agent of6 Sinergia´s Report for the UPR: http://www.derechos.org.ve/proveaweb/wp-content/uploads/epu-venezuela-sinergia-asociacion-venezolana-de-organizaciones-de-sociedad-civil1.pdf7 Foro por la Vida´s Report for theUPR.8 Profesores de Derecho Público de la Universidad Central de Venezuela,´s Report for the UPR: http://www.derechos.org.ve/proveaweb/wp-content/uploads/EPU2011-Profesores-de-Derecho-Público.pdf9 Fundación Agua Clara´s Report for the UPR: http://www.aguaclara.org/pdf/Venezuela_UPR_ESP.pdf10 Sinergia´s Report for the UPR.11 Foro por la Vida´s Report for the UPR.12 Profesores de Derecho Público de la Universidad Central de Venezuela,´s Report for the UPR13 Fundación Agua Clara´s Report for the UPR.14 Sinergia´s Report for the UPR.
6 foreign interests” for receiving international cooperation to 15 promote democracy and defend political rights. SINERGIA .5 Right to The Law for the Defense of National Sovereignty and How will the State guarantee that the Take all necessary measures to promote and Political Self-Determination restricts the rights of Law for the Defense of National guarantee that individuals and defend Political organizations to promote and defend political rights, as well Sovereignty and Political Self- organizations that receive funding Rights as to exercise civic comptrollership of government offices. Determination safeguards the “Right from international cooperation to As well, is establishes penalties —from fines to and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups advocate for, promote and defend imprisonment— to organizations for receiving international and Organs of Society to Promote and political rights, are not subject to 17 cooperation to defend political rights. CDH/UCAB . Protect Universally Recognized Human reprisals or sanctions. Rights and Fundamental Freedoms?”6 In loco visits by In the four-year period covered by the review, the Why hasn´t the State authorized visits in Grant authorization to representatives Venezuelan State has not authorized any visits in loco by loco visits by human rights rapporteurs? representatives of international of international representatives of regional or international human rights Will the State authorize visits in loco by human rights organs to carry out Human Rights 18 systems. CDH/UCAB . representatives of human rights visits in loco. bodies systems?7 Treaties of The Venezuelan State has not taken any concrete steps to In 10 years, why hasn´t the Venezuelan Adopt the necessary national International implement the Rome Statute, and has not established any state taken any steps to comply with its measures required to comply with Humanitarian mechanisms for cooperation or mutual assistance international obligations under the international obligations assumed Law in: a) Surrendering individuals to the International Criminal Rome Statute which created the ICC? by ratifying the Rome Statute. Court (ICC), b) international Legal assistance for the Why does the Venezuelan State Cooperate in arresting and provision of documents, and c) implementation of the ICC consider the decision of the ICC to surrendering individuals sought by 19 sentences. CONTROL CIUDADANO . arrest Sudanese President Omar Al the ICC, pursuant to obligations of In 2009, in an official statement by the Venezuelan Bashir an “interference in internal and the Rome Statute. Government, Mr. Reinaldo Bolívar, Vice Minister for Foreign legitimate matters of the Sudanese Affairs, said that the decision by the ICC to arrest Omar Al people?” Bashir, President of Sudan, was “interference in the internal and legitimate matters of the Sudanese people”. President Chávez called the decision by the ICC a “legal monstrosity and a political affront, not only to Sudan, but to all peoples 20 of the third world”. CONTROL CIUDADANO .8 Prohibition of Venezuela reported having planted 1,074 antipersonnel Since the Venezuelan State is signatory Request the UN Secretary General antipersonnel landmines around six military bases along the border with of the Convention on the Prohibition of to send a mission, within the next landmines Colombia, between 1195 and 1997. However, the landmine the Use, Stockpiling, Production and 3 months, to determine the status fields have been moved in some cases, leaving adrift Transfer or Anti-Personnel Mines and on of compliance by Venezuela with16 Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. United Nations General Assembly Resolution 53/144, December 9, 199815 Sinergia´s Report for the UPR.17 Andrés Bello Catholic University Human Rights Center´s Report for the UPR.18 Andrés Bello Catholic University Human Rights Center´s Report for the UPR.19 Control Ciudadano´s Report for the UPR: http://www.controlciudadano.org/documentos/getbindata.php?docid=1151&fieldname=documento20 Control Ciudadano´s Report for the UPR
7 explosive devices, their precise location unknown. In the their Destruction, why has the the Convention on the Prohibition “New Venezuelan Military Thought”, and within the concept possibility of using antipersonnel of the Use, Stockpiling, Production of the “War of Resistance”, the Venezuelan State included landmines as a means of combat been and Transfer or Anti-Personnel antipersonnel landmines as a means of combat. CONTROL incorporated into the official military Mines and on their Destruction. 21 CIUDADANO . doctrine?9 National Allegations of violations of human rights are many; even Which obstacles have prevented the Design and implement a National Human Rights though they have formal recognition in the legal system, the State from designing and implementing Human Rights Plan, according to Plan conditions for their guarantee are weak. PROVENE . 22 a National Human Rights Plan? UN standards. Freedom of Expression and Access to Public Information10 Right to The Criminal Code and the Organic Code of Military Justice Has the State considered a way to revert Amend the Criminal Code and the Freedom of are regressive in terms of the guarantees of the rights to the expansion of so-called crimes of Organic Code of Military Justice, Expression freedom of expression and information. As well, they ratify contempt or vilification which have eliminating the crimes of and deepen sanctions for vilification against officials; been extended to protect a greater contempt and vilification, increase the discretion of judges to decide whether certain number of public officials? including the Law of Social conducts or expressions fall within criminal types; and by Why not repeal the crime of contempt Responsibility in Radio, Television differentiating between officials and citizens, discriminate of the Criminal Code and establish civil and Electronic Media, according to against the latter, limiting their right to scrutinize the public liabilities according to international the parameters set by the administration. standards and by order of the Inter international systems of human In Article 505, the Organic Code of Military American Court of Human Rights? rights. Justice establishes a “sentence of three to eight years imprisonment to anyone who in any way insults, offends or disparages the National Armed Forces or any of its Units”. 23 24 CDH/UCAB , ESPACIO PÚBLICO and TRANSPARENCIA 25 VENEZUELA . The reform, in 2010, of the Law of Social Responsibility in Radio and Television, added electronic media to its field of regulations and prohibited messages that “disown the legitimately constituted authorities” or “incite to or promote the violation of the law”. Providers of services are also held accountable and are punishable for not limiting 26 the population´s access to such messages. SINERGIA .11 Criminalization More than 2,400 people are subject to criminal prosecution How many people are currently under Refrain from using law of Peaceful for participating in public protests, the majority on parole, prosecution for staging protests? enforcement agencies and legal Protests and on the condition that they do not participate in more Which sectors of the Venezuelan recourses to criminalize21 Control Ciudadano´s Report for the UPR22 Fundación Probono Venezuela´s (Provene) Report for the UPR23 Informe del Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad Católica Andrés Bello para el EPU.24 Espacio Público´s Report for the UPR: http://www.espaciopublico.org/index.php/biblioteca/cat_view/127-examen-periodico-universal-25 Transparencia Venezuela´s Report for the UPR:26 Sinergia´s Report for the UPR.
8 Assembly demonstrations and appear regularly before the courts. population do they belong to? participating in peaceful 27 PROVEA . Which were the circumstances that led demonstrations. The State´s policy of criminalizing protests is reflected in the to their arrest and restriction to their Revise all laws that prohibit, creation of a legal framework that restricts the rights to right to demonstration? restrict and criminalize the right to strike and peaceful demonstrations, imposing prison In which cases and based on which protest by peaceful means. sentences on protesters. Among the laws used to restrict procedures do the Venezuelan laws these rights are: the Organic Law on National Security; the prohibit or restrict the right to Law for the Defense of People´s Access to Goods and demonstrate? Services and the Law on Popular Defense against Hoarding, Is it a crime to protest in Venezuela? Boycott and Any other Conduct Affecting Consumption of food stuffs or Products Subject to Price Controls. 28 PROVEA .12 Right to Access In 2010, the President created, by decree, the National What are the bases for CESNA to Enable citizens to easily and to Public Center for Situational Studies (CESNA in Spanish), whose declare public or private information as effectively access public Information Article 9 allows CESNA´s President to declare as “classified”, confidential or classified? information, through legislation and therefore to limit its disclosure, any information Why hasn´t the Draft Law on Access to and administrative and judicial produced “by State Institutions and by society on any Information been discussed or approved mechanisms, and refrain from aspects related to national interest, in order to protect the by the National Assembly? using them to restrict this right. interests and vital objectives of the Nation”, without How can the Venezuelan people Develop a Law and public policies specifically establishing the circumstances in which the exercise social comptrollership if that ensure timely and effective Officer may do so. information they produce can be access to public information. Out of 157 requests for information sent to 50 public declared as classified and the exercise of Submit the Law on Social institutions in 2008, more than 70% refused to provide it or comptrollership could pose the risk of Comptrollership for public and applied “administrative silence”. Only 10% of the responses incurring in administrative, civil or plural consultation, and eliminate 29 30 were adequate. CDH/UCAB , ESPACIO PÚBLICO and criminal offenses for “misuse of from it provisions which do not 31 TRANSPARENCIA VENEZUELA . information”? guarantee access to information The Law on Social Comptrollership, passed in 2010, What are the bases for restricting the and the independent exercise of requires “proper use” of information and documentation use of funds to exercise social social comptrollership. obtained by citizens and organizations that carry out comptrollership? comptrollership functions. These include: to monitor, How will the State ensure that activities supervise and control public bodies, as well as the private of and denunciations by Social sector and organizations that provide public or private Comptrollers are known by the services, whose activities are of social interest, in order to denounced as well as the public, and prevent or correct behavior and actions contrary to that Comptrollers exercise their27 Provea, Convite and Acción Solidaria´s Report for the UPR: http://www.derechos.org.ve/proveaweb/wp-content/uploads/EPU-VENEZUELA-Informe-Provea-y-otros.pdf28 Provea, Convite and Acción Solidaria´s Report for the UPR.29 Andrés Bello Catholic University Human Rights Center´s Report for the UPR.30 Espacio Público´s Report for the UPR.31 Transparencia Venezuela´s Report for the UPR
9 collective interests. The information obtained must be functions independently and notified to the competent authorities to verify alleged autonomously? violations of the law, irregularities or inaction. The Law prohibits organizations that exercise social comptrollership to obtain any economic benefit from this activity. 32 SINERGIA .13 Political Political polarization and violence have resulted in a Would it be possible to implement Promote social and political Violence significant number of victims. Government and opposition conciliatory policies that promote coexistence, establishing positive sectors promote such violence as a way to resolve social and dialogue, in order to resolve political relationships and cooperation with 33 political conflicts. PAZ ACTIVA . conflicts that keep the average citizen in opposition factions and parties, High-ranking Government Officials and public media distress? and promote the rights to free maintain a polarizing political discourse which contributes Would it be possible to disarm the association and political and social to create situations of hostility and intolerance against presidential discourse of threats and participation. people linked to media critical of Government conduct. disqualifications against his political Open channels of communication 34 CONAPRO . opponents, both in Venezuela and and dialogue with CSO´s, to enable abroad? the realization and full enjoyment of rights and freedoms.14 Attacks against Between 2006 and 2010 there were 89 opportunities in Which steps has the State taken in order Senior officials should refrain from Journalists and which the public discourse of high-ranking Officials to prevent attacks of journalists and the making public speeches and Media exceeded the bounds of legitimate criticism of media and media in general? statements that may have a journalists. Government supporters have interpreted this Which steps have been taken in order to chilling effect on professional discourse as an authorization to carry out acts of violence guarantee the timely and impartial activities of journalists and other and hinder the work of journalists. National authorities have investigation of attacks against media workers. allowed these acts to go unpunished. journalists? Establish mechanisms for timely In 2010, there were 211 attacks and aggressions against Is there anyone punished for these acts? investigation and appropriate journalists and the media by groups of individuals, most of sanctions for those responsible for them suspected of being government supporters. The aggressions against journalists and general pattern in these cases is lack of investigations and attacks against media. impunity. 8 journalists were killed between 2006 and 2010, and in only some cases the investigation was completed and 35 perpetrators were punished. CONAPRO .15 Violence Since 2008 there have been numerous violent and Why have Law Enforcement Agencies Carry out the appropriate against intimidating acts against student and youth organizations and pro-government groups made investigations and sanction those Students and critical of Government conduct, creating serious obstacles systematic use of force to repress the responsible for threatening the32 Sinergia´s Report for the UPR.33 Paz Activa´s Report for the UPR: http://www.pazactiva.org.ve/documentos/DOC/DOC.%20Informe%20EPU%20-%20Venezuela%20-%20Paz%20Activa.pdf34 Conapro´s Report for the UPR: http://www.sntp.com.ve/archivos_descargas/Informe%20Conapro%20EPU.pdf35 Conapro´s Report for the UPR
10 Youth to freedom of expression of the academic sector. State student movement´s activities and lives and physical integrity of Organizations representatives, particularly the Venezuelan President, have protests? members of the student encouraged those acts of violence, with public discourses How will the State prevent movement throughout the 36 which advocate hate. CDH/FCU . discrimination and aggressions against country. the student movement and the Create a Committee responsible academic community at large? for investigating the cases of aggressions and attacks against students recorded by public agencies, and for receiving formal complaints concerning violations of the human rights of students. Rights to Life, Liberty and Personal Safety16 Human Rights There were “19,133 murders in Venezuela in 2009” What are the current functions of the Adjust the operational plans of violations by (National Statistics Institute, INE), placing the homicide rate Scientific, Penal and Criminal security forces in order to control Law at “75 per 100,000 inhabitants”. 43.75% of homicides are Investigations Unit (CICPC)? their actions on the ground, to Enforcement not reported due to the belief that police forces were What is its administrative relationship to avoid abuses by overuse and Agencies 37 involved. COFAVIC . the Executive? misuse of force and firearms. Between 2000 and 2007, the Public Prosecutor´s Office (MP) Which are the procedures established Carry out the appropriate recorded 6,405 cases of “executions or clashes with police”, by regional polices forces to prosecute legislative reforms of the Code of involving 7,243 victims. In 8 years, the MP has only filed 436 and punish officers allegedly involved in Criminal Procedures, so that the charges, which involve 1,237 police officers. human rights violations? CICPC depends on the Public These figures reveal that 900 people are executed annually. Prosecutor´s Office and is Most of the killings are attributed to the regional and separated structurally and municipal police forces. 3,675 officers have been identified administratively from the as responsible for carrying out executions and trying to Executive. 38 disguise them as clashes. COFAVIC . Prevent the CICPC from performing patrol and public safety functions and limit them to the scientific and technical ones that are required of it as an auxiliary organ of justice.17 Civilian The directors of most of the national, regional and Why has the State assigned the Armed Even though the DIBISE is the character of municipal police forces are military officers, which affects Forces and Bolivarian Militia functions product of a national public safety Police Forces their civilian character. Although Article 328 of the of public safety, if public safety organs emergency, its goals and duration Venezuelan Constitution states that military forces may are civilian in nature? must be clearly set, so it does not36 Report for the UPR by the Human Rights Commission of the Federation of University Centers – Venezuela´s Central University: http://www.derechos.org.ve/proveaweb/wp-content/uploads/EPU-FCU-UCV.pdf37 Cofavic´s Report for the UPR: http://www.derechos.org.ve/proveaweb/wp-content/uploads/epucofavic.pdf38 Cofavic´s Report for the UPR.
11 exercise some functions of maintenance of internal order, Which measures is the State taking to become another public safety they cannot replace the responsibilities of the civilian police strengthen the capacities of existing organ, of a military character, with forces. local, regional and national police a permanent presence in the The Bicentennial Public Safety Device (DIBISE) carried out by forces, both financially and in training of country. the National Guard and the Militia, is not transitory and has personnel? Police forces must be civilian in been consuming significant financial resources for Is the Bicentennial Public Safety Device character and their commanders equipment, at the expense of civilian law enforcement carried out by the military transitory? must have a civilian origin, as 39 40 agencies. PAZ ACTIVA y INCOSEC . What are the specific goals of the recommended by the OAS and DIBISE? Would achieving them mean UNDP. the end of the DIBISE?18 Human Rights Until the end of 2010, there were 44,852 inmates in Which measures is the State taking in Give urgent priority to the of People Venezuelan prisons (30,360 awaiting trial and 14,492 order to resolve the understaffing of comprehensive care of the inmate Deprived of convicted), in spite of their 17,500 capacity. Among the prison facilities, training of managerial, population in regards to respect Liberty causes is the most recent amendment of the Code on technical and custodial personnel, and for their human rights Criminal Procedure, which established that defendants must what are the selection criteria of staff (classification, privacy, health, remain in detention during processing, which expresses a currently working in prisons? education, work and social flagrant violation to the rights of presumption of innocence Why do inmates have to carry out reintegration). and to a previous and expeditious trial. Inmates are not hunger strikes, abductions of their own Facilitate coordinated action properly classified by degree of risk given the nature of the families, blood strikes, sewn mouths among various public organs in crimes, and prosecution status. There are cases where there and kidnappings, given the lack of order to guarantee procedural 41 is not even classification based on sex. OVP . response to their demands for better expeditiousness, implement less During inspections, inmates are subjected to beatings and conditions and expeditious trials from burdensome measures, ensure the destruction of their belongings. During visitation days, officials and prison administration? the presence of the accused and families and other visitors are subjected to insults, taunts What kinds of actions and measures are allow for the social reintegration and abuse by members of the National Guard, responsible being taken by the State to end of the condemned. for external monitoring of prisons, and by prison staff, procedural delays? Implement a policy of maintaining 42 responsible for internal security. OVP . Why are inmates who have passed and building prisons, and invest in Between 1999 and 2010, 4,506 inmates were killed (annual technical evaluations not given high quality training of prison average: 409) and 17, 510 were injured (annual average: alternative means to imprisonment to staff, increasing their number. 1,591). In the absence of a prison system that guarantees comply with their sentences? Control access of firearms through human rights, prisoners themselves have organized their What is the criterion for having to be the use of suitable mechanisms daily routines, and have established their own practices and continually evaluated, causing further for monitoring prisons, and codes, as well as their own methods to settle differences, delays? investigate and punish those with an increasing use of firearms and knives and with few responsible for allowing access of39 Paz Activa´s Report for the UPR.40 Incosec´s Report for the UPR: http://www.derechos.org.ve/proveaweb/wp-content/uploads/EPU2011-Incosec.pdf41 Observatorio Venezolano de Prisiones and Liberados en Marcha´s Report for the UPR: http://www.derechos.org.ve/proveaweb/wp-content/uploads/EXAMEN-PERIODICO-UNIVERSAL.pdf42 Observatorio Venezolano de Prisiones y Liberados en Marcha´s Report for the UPR.
12 well trained personnel for the custody and security of firearms into prisons. 43 prisons. UNA VENTANA POR LA LIBERTAD .19 Rights to Life Venezuela´s murder rate is the highest in South America: 48 Why does Venezuela have the highest Approve immediately a and Personal per 100,000 inhabitants in 2010. In the last 10 years, murder rate in South America, given Disarmament Act. Safety 124,500 people have been murdered. Personal safety is the that poverty fell from 70% to 23% Train and certify law enforcement main concern of Venezuelans. Over 80% of homicides occur according to official figures and organs in matters of human rights. in men between 15 and 44 years (National Statistics Government reports state that social Regulate the use of weapons and Institute Victimization Survey). The most affected belong to programs have increased social toxic substances by security forces. the underprivileged strata in terms of education, source of inclusion? Shouldn´t this be reflected in Legislate to ensure that no one is income and housing conditions. 62% of homicides occur in a decrease in violence? subjected to torture or cruel, the victim´s neighborhood. Men between the ages of 15 and Why is information on crime statistics inhuman or degrading treatment. 44 44 committed 70% of the crimes. INCOSEC . restricted? Avoid using the Armed Forces and 98% of homicides are committed with a firearm. In 2009, Why is there such a high level of the National Militia in maintaining the Security and Defense committee of the National impunity in Venezuela? public order. Assembly estimated that between 9 and 15 million people How can it be explained that 4,030 Strengthen the judicial system by possess guns in Venezuela, of which only 1,300,000 are inmates have been murdered in allocating no less than 2% of the known to be legal. Venezuelan prisons in the past 10 years, national budget for its operation None of the judicial institutions reaches 50% approval if prison facilities are under State (Article 254 of the Constitution). among the population. The worst evaluated are regional control? Encourage the development and and municipal police forces, and the prison administration. promotion of preventive 45 INCOSEC . educational activities that help meet the deficit of social capital. Organize Justice of Peace in the communities.20 Availability and Over 100 petitions were sent to the Executive, between What measures is the State taking in Take legislative and administrative Use of Firearms 2008 and 2009, exercising the right to information on order to guarantee citizen´s right of measures to control illegal security and defense issues, asking for: a) number and type access to information on State´s possession of weapons by civilians. of weapons and ammunitions seized by the Armed Forces obligation to control the manufacture, since 1999; b) number of people with permits to carry import, export, storage, transit, firearms; c) list of entities authorized to have weapons, registration, inspection, besides the Armed Forces, including private security commercialization, possession and use companies; and d) companies licensed to sell guns in of weapons, ammunitions and 46 Venezuela. None was answered. CONTROL CIUDADANO . explosives? The State has denied information on the implementation of43 Una Ventana a la Libertad´s Report for the UPR: http://www.derechos.org.ve/proveaweb/wp-content/uploads/Informe-UVL-EPU.pdf44 Incosec´s Report for the UPR.45 Incosec´s Report for the UPR.46 Control Ciudadano´s Report for the UPR.
13 the Anti-Personnel Landmines Convention and the control and destruction measures established in the Bacteriological Weapons Convention, the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. Nor has it provided information on the reasons why it did not approve Protocol IV annexed to the Convention on Conventional Weapons referred to Blinding Laser Weapons, Warfare Weapons and registered Non Warfare Weapons. 47 CONTROL CIUDADANO . The lack of gun controls extends even to weapons in possession or under the supervision on the Armed Forces, where access to information on the matter is non-existent. 48 CONTROL CIUDADANO . Guarantees to Fair Trial and Access to Justice21 Prompt and In 2009, 139,271 cases were brought to the Public Defense What types of actions will the State take Create a registry of precautionary Impartial Office, and only 25,965 reached a conclusive act (these to ensure a prompt and impartial measures, alternative measures to Justice numbers are based on the Public Defense Office statistics on justice, given the existing accumulation deprivation of liberty and cases progress in ordinary criminal matters, which do not state of cases and procedural delays? pending of a firm, which could whether the number of cases concluded in 2009 relate only serve not only as a judicial census, 49 to those admitted that year). PROVENE . but also as a monitoring mechanism for legal proceedings.22 Justice in cases In cases of extrajudicial executions, impunity is widespread Is torture typified autonomously as a Include in the appropriate of Human because scientific and technical proceedings of the crime in the Venezuelan criminal legislation and police protocols Rights investigations can be carried out by colleagues of officers legislation? the implementation of Violations involved. This may involve handling, contamination and How are Public Prosecutors appointed? mechanisms and investigation adulteration of evidence located at the site of the How many of them are provisional guidelines in cases of torture and execution, preventing the investigation from being carried presently? summary executions. out with due impartiality and making it difficult to establish What is the status of compliance with Strengthen the Forensic Unit of 50 responsibilities. COFAVIC . the sentences of the Inter American Fundamental Rights of the Impunity and limitations on Access to justice are structural Court of Human Rights in the cases of Prosecutors Office, to allow it to and particularly affect women, as the main complainants, Blanco Romero and others, and make more expeditious most of whom suffer a serious process of re-victimization: Montero Aranguren and others? investigations in cases in which 70% is subjected to threats and harassment to inhibit them Is there a specific mechanism law enforcement officers are47 Control Ciudadano´s Report for the UPR.48 Control Ciudadano´s Report for the UPR.49 Fundación Probono Venezuela´s (Provene) Report for the UPR.50 Cofavic´s Report for the UPR.
14 from seeking justice. established in domestic legislation to involved. Of the 9,224 cases of alleged human rights violations comply with and implement the Facilitate the participation of recorded by the Prosecutor´s Office in 2009, only 315 precautionary and provisional measures victims of crimes and of human 51 (3.28%) were brought before the Courts. COFAVIC . issued by the Inter American rights violations in criminal trials. Commission and Court of Human Provide adequate protection to Rights? witnesses, and effectively investigate all attacks, threats or intimidation against them.23 Job stability of In 2001, competitive exams to appoint judges were When will the public competition exams Guarantee the effective Judges and suspended. The rule adopted is that provisional judges are for appointment to the Judiciary start separation of State Powers. Independence freely appointed and removed by the Judicial Commission. anew? Take the necessary measures to of Judicial Nor have disciplinary tribunals been created to ensure Which guarantees do the provisional carry out competitive public System 52 judicial stability. FORO POR LA VIDA . judges have in order to ensure their exams for appointment to all In 2010, the Organic Law of the Supreme Court was independence? positions of judges and reformed, reducing the application period for new prosecutors, guarantee that all appointments and allowing the National Assembly —at the legal professionals can participate time controlled by the governing party PSUV— to proceed in such contests. with the appointment of new judges before the elections for a new parliament. In early September 2010, 9 justices to the Supreme Court of Justice were elected before their terms had expired. As well, 32 new acting justices were also elected. As a consequence, high levels of impunity (over 90%) in common crimes and in cases of violation of human rights (98%) have been recorded, and the justice system has been instrumentalized against critical voices and opposition 53 groups. FORO POR LA VIDA .24 Independence Military Justice allows for the intervention of the How will the State implement the Adapt national legislation relating of the Military Venezuelan president at various stages of judicial recommendations of the Inter-American to military justice to international Judicial System procedures, with the power to: a) order the trial of generals Court of Human Rights (IACHR), pending human rights standards. and admirals, b) order the dismissal of military trials, d) since 2009, regarding military justice Implement the recommendations order acquittals in military trials, and d) grant pardons. and law reform? of the IACHR, pending since 2009, These attributions involve serious infringement of the in relation to military justice and principles of due process, independence of the judiciary, law reform. judicial guarantees and the right to be judged within the 54 appropriate jurisdiction. CONTROL CIUDADANO .51 Cofavic´s Report for the UPR.52 Foro por la Vida´s Report for the UPR.53 Foro por la Vida´s Report for the UPR.54 Control Ciudadano´s Report for the UPR.
15 There is a wide margin of interpretation and discretion regarding disciplinary punishment within the Armed Forces. Many complaints have been filed for excessive punishment, incompatible with standards of guarantees for human 55 rights. CONTROL CIUDADANO .25 Violence in the Between 2006 and 2010, 181 union leaders and workers Could you provide information on the Reactivate the high-level Union Sector have been killed due to labor disputes. A large number is number of sentences that establish negotiating table between and Violations related to deviations in the exercise of union activity, since criminal responsibility for the murders workers and State Agencies with of Labor Rights union leaders have become “job traders” and charge fees of 181 union members and workers jurisdiction to prevent such for providing employment. The vast majority of these crimes involved in labor disputes, between crimes, and provide assurances has gone unpunished, in open transgression of the State´s October 2006 and September 2010? that investigations will be carried obligation to administer justice and sanction those Which mechanisms has the State out. responsible. In 46 crimes occurring between 2008 and 2009, adopted to prevent such crimes? Advance criminal investigations prosecutors issued arrest warrants in only 9 cases and only related to the murders of union 56 one suspect was presented before the courts. PROVEA . members and workers involved in labor disputes. Convene a pluralistic academic committee to conduct an independent investigation into the phenomenon of violence among workers and to develop, in consultation with them, proposals to prevent it. Social and Environmental Rights26 Rights of Venezuela has ratified the Convention on the Rights of the How is the State bridging the gap Conduct an impact study to assess Children and Child and its two optional protocols. Therefore, there is a between the regulatory framework and the progress achieved and Adolescents favorable regulatory framework for the protection and care the institutional and social reality, for difficulties faced in guaranteeing of children and adolescents (C&A). However, significant the exercise of rights by C&A? the rights of C&A. gaps between theoretical-normative and social practices What kind of difficulties and constraints Execute a National Plan for the remain, in relation to childhood and youth issues. has the State faced in designing and Comprehensive Protection of the 57 REDDHHNA . implementing a National Action Plan for Rights of C&A, based on the Qualitative experiences gathered from users of the National the protection of C&A, and what Convention on the Rights of the System for the Protection of Children and Adolescents strategies has it devised to overcome Child. (NSPCA) indicate prevailing misinformation, confusion and obstacles? Create a National Statistics System55 Control Ciudadano