HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN VENEZUELA AND THE RESPONSE OF THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
Ottawa, April 06, 2017 -
On April 6th 2017, the Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development (the Subcommittee) heard testimony confirming that the Venezuelan executive branch has attempted to circumvent the National Assembly, to undermine judicial independence, and to silence dissent by imprisoning government critics. Rampant corruption has led to the bankrupting of the resource-rich country, precipitating an acute economic, social, and humanitarian crisis which has affected the lives of 30 million Venezuelans.
The Subcommittee calls on the executive branch of the Government of Venezuela to respect the human rights of Venezuelans, including their right to a free and democratic society, and in particular to:
1. Immediately release all political prisoners;
2. Hold the postponed elections and allow international monitoring to demonstrate that the elections are free and fair; and
3. Allow full access to humanitarian workers and to support members of civil society working to alleviate a deepening humanitarian crisis;
The Subcommittee affirms its support for the work of members of the Organization of American States (OAS)’ Permanent Council to develop concrete measures to guide Venezuela to a return to constitutional order. In particular, the Subcommittee applauds the efforts of the Secretary General of the OAS, Mr. Luis Almagro, to hold the Venezuelan executive branch to account.
The Subcommittee stresses the need for the Government of Canada and the international community to develop effective measures to promote the restoration of Venezuela’s constitutional order, to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis, and to allow Venezuelans to enjoy their basic human rights. We urge the international community to ensure that the Venezuelan regime is held accountable for abuses of internationally recognized human rights.
“It is time to take real, concrete action to ensure that constitutional and democratic order–including respect for the separation of powers and fundamental freedoms–is restored in Venezuela. Venezuelans have suffered long enough.” – Michael Levitt, MP, Chair
“The use of state machinery to suppress dissent cannot be tolerated. The detention of political prisoners is but one of the Venezuelan regime’s many cynical ploys to cling on to power, even at the expense of 30 million Venezuelans and the Venezuelan constitution.” – David Sweet, MP, Vice-Chair
“It is crucial at this juncture that the international community stress the responsibility of governments to protect and strengthen democracy. Respect for human rights is fundamental and we urge the government and oppositional parliamentarians to show their dedication to the wellbeing of their people. We support them in this endeavour.” – Cheryl Hardcastle, MP, Vice-Chair