Venezuela unfit for a new UN Human Rights Council term

Issued by Transparency International Secretariat

Translations: --

Venezuela’s human rights record, including as a member of the Human Rights Council, should preclude it from serving another term on the council, 36 international and Latin American human rights organizations said. Elections for the 2016-2018 term of the council will be held in New York on October 28, 2015, by the United Nations General Assembly. Members of the Human Rights Council are required to uphold the highest standards in the protection and promotion of human rights.

The Venezuelan government’s human rights practices, its rejection of the work of international human rights bodies, and its voting record at the Human Rights Council during the past three years make it unfit to hold a seat, the groups said.

While serving on the Human Rights Council, the Venezuelan government has seriously violated basic human rights standards the body is meant to promote. In 2014, Venezuelan security forces violently cracked down on largely peaceful protests systematically over a period of weeks. They arbitrarily arrested demonstrators and bystanders, severely beat and tortured them in detention, and denied them basic due process rights.

The government also arrested and prosecuted opposition politicians and lesser-known critics on arbitrary grounds, brought criminal defamation charges against owners and journalists working in critical media outlets, and harassed and intimidated human rights defenders who questioned these and other abuses of power.

In addition to its disregard for fundamental freedoms within its borders, the Venezuelan government has rejected meaningful scrutiny of its human rights record by international human rights bodies. It has not allowed the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to visit the country for over a decade, and has not allowed any UN special rapporteurs to visit since 1996. It withdrew from the American Convention on Human Rights in 2012, depriving Venezuelans who suffer abuses from seeking protection from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. It rejected key recommendations issued during the 2011 Universal Periodic Review of its human rights record by the Human Rights Council and did not fully carry out those it accepted.

Venezuela also has one of the worst voting records at the Human Rights Council. It has repeatedly rejected resolutions aimed at addressing serious human rights violations, including country specific resolutions on Belarus, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Sri Lanka, and Ukraine that were endorsed by other Latin American governments. At the UN Security Council, it blocked measures to curb abuses in South Sudan and Syria.

The groups said that reelecting Venezuela to the HRC would send a dangerous message that the international community is indifferent to Venezuela’s violations of human rights and rejection of human rights mechanisms, and that the principles that the Human Rights Council was created to protect are not meant to be taken seriously.

Acción Solidaria en VIH/Sida (Venezuela)
Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos (APRODEH) (Peru)
Asociación por los Derechos Civiles (ADC) (Argentina)
Asamblea de Educación (Venezuela)
Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña Tlachinollan, A.C. (México)

Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez, A.C. (Centro Prodh) (Mexico)
CEPAZ (Venezuela)
Ciudadanos en Apoyo a los Derechos Humanos, A.C. (CADHAC) (Mexico)
Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad Católica Andrés Bello (Venezuela)
CIVILIS Derechos Humanos (Venezuela)
Coalición de Organizaciones por el derecho a la salud y la vida (CODEVIDA) (Venezuela)
Comisión Colombiana de Juristas (Colombia)
Comisión para los Derechos Humanos del estado Zulia (CODHEZ) (Venezuela)
Corporación Humanas (Chile)
Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos (Peru)
Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF)
Espacio Público (Venezuela)
Fenasopadres (Venezuela)
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
Instituto de Estudios Legales y Sociales del Uruguay (IELSUR) (Uruguay)
Fundación Aguaclara (Venezuela)
Fundación Ensayos para el Aprendizaje Permanente (FEPAP) (Venezuela)
Fundación Myrna Mack (Guatemala)
Human Rights Watch

Observatorio Ciudadano (Chile)
Observatorio de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad de Los Andes (Venezuela)
Observatorio Venezolano de Prisiones (Venezuela)
Observatorio Venezolano de Salud (Venezuela)
Programa Venezolano de Educación Acción en Derechos Humanos (PROVEA) (Venezuela)
Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights
Transparency International
Transparencia Venezuela
Unión Afirmativa (Venezuela)
Venezuela Diversa (Venezuela)

For any press enquiries please contact

Chris Sanders
Transparency International
T: +49 30 3438 20 666
E: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Mercedes de Freitas
Transparencia Venezuela
E: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
T: +58 212 576 0863


Support Transparency International

Support Us

Power for Nigeria’s people

Bribery in electricity supply ruins livelihoods, but Nigeria’s residents are speaking out.

The terrible consequences of police corruption in South Africa

What do we do when those mandated to protect us are serving other interests than public safety and security? In South Africa, police corruption leaves the public exposed to high rates of crime, and causes distrust of the police service while allowing crime to flourish.

Why do DRC citizens report such high levels of corruption?

People's experiences with corruption in the DRC are far worse than in most other African countries. Why is corruption so prevalent in the DRC, why is bribery so commonplace and why do two thirds of citizens feel powerless?

Three ways to stop money laundering through real estate

Around the world, buying property is a favourite method for the corrupt to launder their ill-gotten gains. However, there are concrete measures that make it significantly more difficult for the corrupt to stash their dirty money in real estate.

Announcing the theme for the 19th edition of the International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC)

Designing 2030: Truth, Trust & Transparency

Protecting Africa’s wildlife from corruption

When they deliberate over amendments to the global wildlife trade regime, CoP18 must address impunity for illegal timber trafficking in Africa as a matter of high priority.

How the US can help Mongolia get to grips with corruption

A series of bi-lateral meetings and a proposed trade agreement present an opportunity for the US to promote rule of law and an independent judiciary in Mongolia.

Blood diamonds and land corruption in Sierra Leone

A community in Sierra Leone has created powerful short videos documenting their experiences of corruption, forced evictions and a botched resettlement programme at the hands of a multinational diamond mining company.

Countries must be more transparent when investigating transnational corruption

Supervisory and justice systems should be transparent and accountable so that the public can assess their performance.

Resilient institutions

Reducing corruption is an important component of the sustainable development agenda, and one that all state parties have an obligation to address. Although corruption is often thought of as a ‘third-world problem’, institutions in the Global North play an important role in the corruption cycle, and are therefore an essential part of the solutions.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media