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The Inter-Parliamentary Union Reiterates the Persecution Against Opposition Parliamentarians

IPU mission that visited Venezuela in 2021. Courtesy Monitoreamos

The Inter-Parliamentary Union, a body that brings together more than 180 parliaments around the world, held its 145th Assembly last October in Rwanda.

During the Assembly, the Session of the Human Rights Committee of parliamentarians considered the repeated complaints about violations of human rights of parliamentarians and issued a new decision on Venezuela.

The Inter-Parliamentary Union has ruled on the situation of more than 134 Venezuelan parliamentarians, of whom 11 have been imprisoned for political reasons, without respect for their parliamentary immunity and due process, 36 have been forced into exile and 23 are subject to judicial proceedings.

This decision highlights alleged violations of the human rights of parliamentarians, such as torture, mistreatment and other acts of violence, threats and intimidation, arbitrary detention, arrest and other violations.

In its decision, the Inter-Parliamentary Union:

“…reaffirms its longstanding position that the harassment of parliamentarians from the

opposition elected in 2015 is a direct consequence of the prominent role they played as outspoken opponents of the government of President Maduro and as members of the opposition-led National Assembly, elected in 2015; once again urges the authorities to immediately end all forms of persecution against the opposition parliamentarians elected in 2015, to ensure that all relevant state authorities respect their human rights, and to investigate and fully establish the responsibilities for the aforementioned violations of their rights; and requests the Venezuelan authorities to provide official information on any action taken to this end…”

Similarly, the agency stated that:

“… [IPU] remains deeply concerned by the conclusions made in the successive reports of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, particularly in relation to the detailed information contained in the report issued in September 2022, illustrating how both real and perceived opponents of the government and dissidents have been subjected to arrest and reprisals by state intelligence services over the past few years, giving further substance to accusations of political repression and State responsibility at the highest level; and expresses its firm hope, once again, that the State of Venezuela, with the support of the international community, can remedy the violations and crimes documented in said reports…”

It should be noted that complaints on violations of the rights of opposition parliamentarians have been presented since 2009, and that the Inter-Parliamentary Union decided in 2013 to send a Mission to Venezuela, which was openly hindered by Nicolás Maduro, by not granting visas to the members appointed as part of it. Finally, only in 2021 was the Mission able to take place, which was able to verify in situ the harassment against parliamentarians.

The persecution of opposition representatives elected by popular vote has been recurring for more than a decade and reflects the government’s lack of political will to recognize and respect the results of electoral consultations. These types of facts show the need to address the political crisis in Venezuela in a comprehensive manner, without being limited to the act of voting, but including the conditions prior to the elections, as well as the subsequent respect for the popular will when the results are not favorable to the government. These factors must be incorporated into any negotiation agenda, be it in Mexico or in other spaces that seek to advance the restoration of democracy in Venezuela.