By Sovereign Hager
Impunity Watch Reporter, South America
CARACAS, Venezuela- Venezuela is strongly denying the findings of a new report on human rights from the Organization of American States. The report was released earlier this week by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and made findings that the Venezuelan government often intimidates or punishes citizens based on their political affiliation. The Venezuelan government claims that the Commission distorted statistics to construct a pattern of political repression that does not actually exist.
The report was compiled by seventy-five jurists and rights activists from Antigua, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, El Salvador, and the United States. The report specifically finds that democracy is in danger in Venezuela because the state punishes critics, including anti-government television stations, demonstrators, and opposition politicians who advocate an alternative form of government.
The report also states that “the commission considers alarming the number of cases of extra-judicial execution; torture; forced disappearances; death threats; abuse of authority; and cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment meted out by agents of the Venezuelan state.” Human rights workers and journalists were among those most affected by the “pattern of impunity.”
Venezuelan Ombudswoman Gabriela Ramirez told members of the press that the report “attempts once again to discredit and weaken the democratic institutions of the state.” She further criticised the OAS for a lack of impartiality demonstrated by taking statistics out of context and using others selectively. Ramirez maintains that the data actually shows that human rights violations have decreased in Venezuela.
The report acknowledges that the Chavez government has observed citizens’ economic, social, and cultural rights. However, the commission “emphasizes that observance of other fundamental rights cannot be sacrificed for the sake of realizing economic, social, and cultural rights in Venezuela.”
For more information, please see:
AP-Chavez Rejects Report Citing Human Rights Violations-26 February 2010
CNN-Venezuelan Official Disputes Report on Human Rights Abuses-25 February 2010
Washington Post-OAS Report Criticizes Venezuela-25 February 2010
Organization of American States-IACHR Publishes Report on Venezuela– 24 February 2010