Venezuela: Acts of harassment and defamation against Provea

07/05/2020
Urgent Appeal
en es

VEN 003 / 0520 / OBS 049
Harassment /
Defamation
Venezuela
May 7, 2020

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Venezuela.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has received with serious concern information from the Venezuelan Program for Education and Action on Human Rights (Programa Venezolano de Educación Acción en Derechos Humanos - Provea) regarding the harassment and defamation the organisation is facing.

According to the information received, on May 4 and 5, 2020, several members of the Venezuelan authorities made statements in the press and on social networks accusing Provea of supporting terrorism, after the NGO spoke out about alleged clashes between the Venezuelan authorities and groups of individuals that occurred on May 3 and 4, 2020.

On May 3, 2020, an apparent armed confrontation took place in a coastal area in La Guaira, Vargas State. According to official information, eight people were killed and thirteen were detained in this context. The following day, May 4, 2020, another group of men was arrested in a coastal area of Chuao municipality, Aragua State. Among them were two men with passports from the United States of America, according to official sources. The government alleged that both incidents were part of a terrorist action against such government.

In reaction to these events, in the morning of May 4, 2020, Provea published a series of messages on Twitter highlighting President Nicolás Maduro Moros’s responsibility for the violence in the country by closing down peaceful and democratic channels for the resolution of the conflict in Venezuela, and demanded that the human rights of those detained be respected1.

On May 4 and 5, 2020, following this statement by the NGO, several politicians reacted in the press, on national television and on social networks, accusing Provea of promoting terrorism, claiming the incursion of mercenaries, justifying and supporting violent actions against the Constitution, or being an organization financed by U.S. intelligence agencies.

The Observatory stresses that these acts of intimidation and harassment against Provea take place in the context of a systematic policy of criminalization of human rights defenders in Venezuela2, and of a long-term humanitarian crisis3 . These acts occur in the context of the COVID-19 health crisis and further deepen the human rights crisis in the country.

The Observatory condemns and denounces the acts of intimidation against Provea and calls for the end of all forms of harassment against the organisation and its workers, including at the judicial level.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities in Venezuela, urging them to:

i. Put an end to all acts of harassment and intimidation against Provea, its workers, and all human rights defenders in Venezuela;

ii. Take immediate and appropriate measures to guarantee the security, physical integrity and psychological well-being of Provea’s workers and, in general, of all human rights defenders in Venezuela;

iii. Conform to the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, in particular with Articles 1, 6, 9 and 12.2;

iv. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Venezuela.

Addresses:

• Mr. Nicolás Maduro Moros, President of Venezuela. Twitter: @NicolasMaduro;
• Mr. Tarek William Saab, General Prosecutor of the Republic. E-mail: ministeriopublico@mp.gob.ve;
• Mr. Diosdado Cabello, President of the National Constituent Assembly. Twitter: @dcabellor;
• Mr. Néstor Luis Reverol, Minister of the Interior, Justice and Peace. E-mail: mijcudecon@gmail.com;
• Dr. Alfredo Ruiz, Defensor del Pueblo. E-mail: contacto@defensoria.gob.ve;
• Mr. Jorge Valero, Ambassador of the Permanent Mission of Venezuela to the UN in Geneva. E-mail: mission.venezuela@ties.itu.int;
• Ms. Claudia Salerno Caldera, Ambassador of Venezuela in Brussels. E-mail: embve.bebrs@mppre.gob.ve

Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of Venezuela located in your country.

***
Paris-Geneva, May 7, 2020

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
• E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
• Tel and fax FIDH: + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
• Tel and fax OMCT + 41 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

___

[1] See https://twitter.com/_Provea/status/1257384762488115206?s=20
[2] See the Observatory report “ Venezuela – "Internal enemies" – The defence of human rights under attack”: https://www.fidh.org/IMG/pdf/venezuela_informe_2020.03_informe_completo.pdf
[3] See the Observatory report “ Venezuela – "Internal enemies" – The defence of human rights under attack”: https://www.fidh.org/IMG/pdf/venezuela_informe_2020.03_informe_completo.pdf

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