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Venezuela: The UN must renew the mandate of independent experts

On Wednesday, August 17, 2022, a group of national and international human rights organizations held a press conference to demand the renewal of the International Independent Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) for Venezuela as a measure of justice and accountability in front of the serious human rights violations that have occurred since 2014.

Five spokespersons participated in the conference. Rafael Uzcátegui from Provea focused his presentation on the fact that the MII must continue to fulfill its four main objectives: 1- Investigate the violations that have taken place since 2014; 2- Endorse Venezuelans’ fight against impunity; 3- Update the Human Rights Council on the Venezuelan situation. 4- Prepare reports with recommendations to the State.

Tamara Taraciuk from Human Rights Watch stressed the particularity of the MII as a monitoring and accountability mechanism whose rigorous documentation complements the work of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, both In Venezuela.

Beatriz Borges from Cepaz, Clara del Campo from Amnesty International, and the parents of Juan Pernalete, a young student murdered by the Venezuelan State during the 2017 protests, also spoke out. Borges pointed out that the international community’s response must be consistent with Venezuela and that Latin American governments must lead the initiative of renewal in the face of the growing Venezuelan population they have received. Del Campo added her call to the States of the Human Rights Council to unite against impunity and propose a draft resolution for a vote in early October.

José Pernalete and Elvira Llovera shared a living testimony of why the MII continues to be relevant for Venezuela and the international community by specifying that the death of their son was not an isolated event, but was part of a “State policy with excessive use of force to silence dissidence”. Likewise, Messrs. Pernalete expressed a message to all diplomatic missions to support the task of renewing the MII, considering that Venezuela more than ever needs justice, truth, reparation, and guarantees of non-repetition.

During the press conference, a document signed by 125 Venezuela-related national and international organizations requesting the renewal of the MII’s mandate was disclosed. Among several aspects, the text explains the lack of implementation of the recommendations of the Mission as well as those of the Office of the High Commissioner and other human rights experts, the absence of internal justice and reparation mechanisms, the false narrative of cooperation that the State has tried to disseminate in recent monts, the reforms to the justice system that strengthen its dependency on the National Executive Branch and the containment work carried out by the MII against government abuses, including during electoral periods.

Given the incessant clamor of the Venezuelan people for justice and the need to set out firm ethical foundations allowing a political solution to the crisis, AlertaVenezuela urges the international community, especially the Human Rights Council, to fulfill its historical responsibility to protect and defend human rights, as well as to promote effective and genuine solutions to the complex humanitarian emergency that Venezuela is facing, by renewing the mandate of the MII, emphasizing that this mandate is not contradictory or alternative to those of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Prosecutor’s Office of the International Criminal Court; on the contrary, they are complementary and indispensable for adequate international supervision of Venezuela from different perspectives.