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 Venezuela: fundamental Human Rights under unacceptable pressure

Venezuela: fundamental Human Rights under unacceptable pressure

February 26, 2015

The possibility of exercising legitimate opposition to an elected government, either from political structures, the media or civil society, is a necessary condition for any democracy. This system of checks and balances and the respect for fundamental rights, like freedom of expression, association and to peaceably assemble, are under tremendous stress in Venezuela. 

The recent arrest of Antonio Ledezma, mayor of the metropolitan area of Caracas with a disproportionate deployment of police resources and absence of any warranty or legal certainty; the prolonged incarceration, for over a year now, of opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez in spite of numerous international statements in favor of his release, and clearly against the recommendations of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; the constant harassment of the opposition press and civil society organizations or the recently approved measures calling on the military, and not the police, to maintain order in the face of protests and demonstrations are all evidence of the growing pressure on the exercise of fundamental rights.


In November 2014, over thirty members of the Club of Madrid signed a joint statement expressing their concern about the state of democracy and civil rights in Venezuela and calling for the immediate release of Leopoldo López. The escalation of pressure with the arrest of the Mayor of Caracas leads the Club of Madrid to reiterate its call for the release of all political prisoners in Venezuela and the adoption of the necessary measures to ensure that all Venezuelans, regardless of their political position, can freely exercise their civil rights without fear of reprisal. It is only our respect for democratic values, our esteem for the Venezuelan people and the firm conviction that the full enjoyment of the citizen’s liberties is the best service we can give to the country, the region and democracy that moves us to urge the Venezuelan government to address growing concerns about the state of democracy and civil rights in Venezuela. 

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