Venezuela

 

  • Alert: Continued deterioration of democratic institutions in Venezuela

    Spanish

    Global civil society alliance, CIVICUS and the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) are deeply concerned about the continuing deterioration of democratic institutions in Venezuela. On 28 and 29 March 2017, the Constitutional Chamber of Venezuela’s Supreme Court (TSJ) issued rulings No. 155 and 156 by which it declared the National Assembly in contempt of court, stripped legislators of parliamentary immunity, and assumed congressional powers as well as the prerogative to delegate them to whoever it decided, namely the Office of the President.

    In practice, many civil society organisations in Venezuela have expressed an opinion that these rulings amounted to an attempted coup against the legislative branch of government, a fundamental pillar of democratic institutions and the embodiment of the people’s right to be represented in the arena where key decisions concerning their lives and rights are made. Similarly, the Venezuelan Attorney General considered these decisions represent a rupture of the Constitutional order.

    The latest developments are the culmination of a several years’ long process of erosion of congressional authority which has plunged the country into a deep social crisis. Through the past year and a half, the TSJ issued more than 50 rulings that undermined the functions of the National Assembly and conferred unlimited powers onto the executive branch of the state. This is the reason why the backing down by the TSJ on its latest rulings did not amount to a restoration of the separation of powers and the rule of law. The fact that this reversal was executed at the executive’s request further emphasised the judiciary’s lack of independence and the on-going degradation of Venezuelan republican institutions.

    Over the years, the erosion of constitutional checks and balances and the resulting political polarisation have progressed hand in hand with increasing restrictions on civic freedoms, namely the rights to freedom of association, expression and peaceful assembly without which an empowered and enabled civil society cannot exist.

    In turn, the increasing concentration of decision-making powers in the executive leadership has led to serious policy-making failures, thereby intensifying rather than resolving the social crisis facing the country, including acute shortages of food and other basic goods, challenges with the public health system and a spike in street violence which disproportionately affects impoverished communities. We are also concerned about state repression against individuals and civil society groups when they speak up, organise and protest about their troubles.

    In the face of this multidimensional crisis, we call on Venezuelan Government to:

    • Restore the constitutionally defined functions and resources of the National Assembly as well as the prerogatives of its members, devolve the extraordinary powers conferred onto the executive by subsequent TSJ rulings, and introduce measures to guarantee the independence of the judiciary.
    • Repeal the current state of exception, established through an executive decree, and comply with human rights commitments under international law to guarantee basic enabling conditions for human rights defenders and civil society organisations. 
    • Guarantee the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, and of expression. Security forces must refrain from the use of force against, or the arbitrary arrest of peaceful protestors.
    • Engage in dialogue with relevant national actors, including civil society, to resolve the current crisis; and ensure access to food and medicine for the entire population.

    We also urge the international community and in particular, the Organization of American States and its members to assist in resolution of the social and political crisis facing Venezuela.

    Contact:
    Eleanor Openshaw, ISHR NY Office: +1 212 490 2199,
    Inés Pousadela, CIVICUS Policy and Research: +598 2901 1646,

     

  • Alerta: Continuo deterioro de instituciones democráticas en Venezuela

    La alianza global de la sociedad civil CIVICUS y el Servicio Internacional para los Derechos Humanos (ISHR) expresan su profunda preocupación por el creciente deterioro de las instituciones democráticas en Venezuela. Los días 28 y 29 de marzo de 2017, la Sala Constitucional del Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ) de Venezuela emitió las sentencias N° 155 y 156, mediante las cuales declaró a la Asamblea Nacional en desacato, privó a los legisladores de inmunidad parlamentaria y asumió atribuciones del Congreso, así como la prerrogativa de delegarlas en quien juzgara conveniente, en este caso en la presidencia.

    Numerosas organizaciones de la sociedad civil venezolanas han manifestado que estas decisiones equivalen en la práctica a un intento de golpe de Estado contra el Poder Legislativo, un pilar fundamental de las instituciones democráticas y la encarnación del derecho de la ciudadanía a estar representada allí donde se toman las decisiones clave que repercuten sobre sus vidas y sus derechos. Del mismo modo, la Fiscal General consideró que estas decisiones del TSJ representan una ruptura del orden constitucional.

    Los últimos acontecimientos han sido la culminación de un proceso de erosión de la autoridad del Congreso que lleva varios años, y que ha sumido al país en una profunda crisis social. Durante el pasado año y medio, el TSJ emitió más de 50 resoluciones que socavaron las funciones de la Asamblea Nacional y otorgaron poderes ilimitados al Ejecutivo. Esta es la razón por la cual la decisión del TSJ de dar marcha atrás sobre sus últimas decisiones no supuso un restablecimiento de la separación de poderes y del estado de derecho. El hecho de que el TSJ revirtiera sus decisiones a petición del Ejecutivo, asimismo, no hizo más que enfatizar la falta de independencia del poder judicial y la degradación en curso de las instituciones republicanas en Venezuela.

    A lo largo de los años, la erosión de los controles constitucionales y la consiguiente polarización política han ido acompañados de restricciones cada vez mayores sobre las libertades cívicas, es decir, sobre los derechos a la libertad de asociación, de expresión y de reunión pacífica sin los cuales no puede funcionar una sociedad civil activa y empoderada.

    A su vez, la creciente concentración de poderes de decisión en el liderazgo ejecutivo ha redundado en graves fallos en la formulación de políticas públicas, intensificando en vez de resolver la crisis social que afronta el país, con fenómenos que incluyen una aguda escasez de alimentos y otros bienes básicos, el desmoronamiento del sistema público de salud y un aumento de la violencia callejera que afecta desproporcionadamente a las comunidades empobrecidas. También resulta preocupante la creciente represión estatal contra individuos y grupos de la sociedad civil que se expresan, organizan y protestan acerca de estos problemas.

    Frente a esta crisis multidimensional, hacemos un llamado al gobierno venezolano para que:

    1. Restaure las funciones y recursos constitucionalmente definidos de la Asamblea Nacional, así como las prerrogativas de sus miembros, devuelva las facultades extraordinarias conferidas al Poder Ejecutivo mediante sucesivas sentencias del TSJ, e introduzca medidas para garantizar la independencia del Poder Judicial.
    2. Derogue el estado actual de excepción, establecido mediante decreto ejecutivo, y cumpla con los compromisos de derechos humanos asumidos bajo el derecho internacional en materia de garantía de las condiciones básicas para el trabajo de defensores de derechos humanos y organizaciones de la sociedad civil.
    3. Garantice el derecho a las libertades de reunión pacífica, asociación y expresión. Las fuerzas de seguridad deben abstenerse del uso de la fuerza y el arresto arbitrario de manifestantes pacíficos.
    4. Participe en un diálogo con actores nacionales relevantes, incluyendo a la sociedad civil, para resolver la actual crisis; y asegure el acceso a alimentos y medicamentos para toda la población.
      Instamos también a la comunidad internacional, y en particular a la Organización de los Estados Americanos y a sus Estados miembros, a colaborar en aras de la resolución de la crisis social y política que enfrenta Venezuela.

    Contactos:
    Eleanor Openshaw,
    ISHR Oficina de Nueva York
    +12124902199

    Inés Pousadela
    CIVICUS Políticas e Investigación
    +598 2901 1646

     

  • Alerta: Continuo deterioro de instituciones democráticas en Venezuela

    La alianza global de la sociedad civil CIVICUS y el Servicio Internacional para los Derechos Humanos (ISHR) expresan su profunda preocupación por el creciente deterioro de las instituciones democráticas en Venezuela. Los días 28 y 29 de marzo de 2017, la Sala Constitucional del Tribunal Supremo de Justicia (TSJ) de Venezuela emitió las sentencias N° 155 y 156, mediante las cuales declaró a la Asamblea Nacional en desacato, privó a los legisladores de inmunidad parlamentaria y asumió atribuciones del Congreso, así como la prerrogativa de delegarlas en quien juzgara conveniente, en este caso en la presidencia.

    Numerosas organizaciones de la sociedad civil venezolanas han manifestado que estas decisiones equivalen en la práctica a un intento de golpe de Estado contra el Poder Legislativo, un pilar fundamental de las instituciones democráticas y la encarnación del derecho de la ciudadanía a estar representada allí donde se toman las decisiones clave que repercuten sobre sus vidas y sus derechos. Del mismo modo, la Fiscal General consideró que estas decisiones del TSJ representan una ruptura del orden constitucional.

    Los últimos acontecimientos han sido la culminación de un proceso de erosión de la autoridad del Congreso que lleva varios años, y que ha sumido al país en una profunda crisis social. Durante el pasado año y medio, el TSJ emitió más de 50 resoluciones que socavaron las funciones de la Asamblea Nacional y otorgaron poderes ilimitados al Ejecutivo. Esta es la razón por la cual la decisión del TSJ de dar marcha atrás sobre sus últimas decisiones no supuso un restablecimiento de la separación de poderes y del estado de derecho. El hecho de que el TSJ revirtiera sus decisiones a petición del Ejecutivo, asimismo, no hizo más que enfatizar la falta de independencia del poder judicial y la degradación en curso de las instituciones republicanas en Venezuela.

    A lo largo de los años, la erosión de los controles constitucionales y la consiguiente polarización política han ido acompañados de restricciones cada vez mayores sobre las libertades cívicas, es decir, sobre los derechos a la libertad de asociación, de expresión y de reunión pacífica sin los cuales no puede funcionar una sociedad civil activa y empoderada.

    A su vez, la creciente concentración de poderes de decisión en el liderazgo ejecutivo ha redundado en graves fallos en la formulación de políticas públicas, intensificando en vez de resolver la crisis social que afronta el país, con fenómenos que incluyen una aguda escasez de alimentos y otros bienes básicos, el desmoronamiento del sistema público de salud y un aumento de la violencia callejera que afecta desproporcionadamente a las comunidades empobrecidas. También resulta preocupante la creciente represión estatal contra individuos y grupos de la sociedad civil que se expresan, organizan y protestan acerca de estos problemas.

    Frente a esta crisis multidimensional, hacemos un llamado al gobierno venezolano para que:

    1. Restaure las funciones y recursos constitucionalmente definidos de la Asamblea Nacional, así como las prerrogativas de sus miembros, devuelva las facultades extraordinarias conferidas al Poder Ejecutivo mediante sucesivas sentencias del TSJ, e introduzca medidas para garantizar la independencia del Poder Judicial.
    2. Derogue el estado actual de excepción, establecido mediante decreto ejecutivo, y cumpla con los compromisos de derechos humanos asumidos bajo el derecho internacional en materia de garantía de las condiciones básicas para el trabajo de defensores de derechos humanos y organizaciones de la sociedad civil.
    3. Garantice el derecho a las libertades de reunión pacífica, asociación y expresión. Las fuerzas de seguridad deben abstenerse del uso de la fuerza y el arresto arbitrario de manifestantes pacíficos.
    4. Participe en un diálogo con actores nacionales relevantes, incluyendo a la sociedad civil, para resolver la actual crisis; y asegure el acceso a alimentos y medicamentos para toda la población.
      Instamos también a la comunidad internacional, y en particular a la Organización de los Estados Americanos y a sus Estados miembros, a colaborar en aras de la resolución de la crisis social y política que enfrenta Venezuela.

    Contactos:
    Eleanor Openshaw,
    ISHR Oficina de Nueva York
    +12124902199

    Inés Pousadela
    CIVICUS Políticas e Investigación
    +598 2901 1646

     

  • Arco minero del Orinoco: la crisis de la que pocos hablan en Venezuela

    Por Marianna Belalba Barreto, investigadora en CIVICUS, la Alianza Mundial para la Participación Ciudadana | Rafael Uzcategui, coordinador general de Provea, el Programa Venezolano de Educación-Acción en Derechos Humanos

    En 2016 se aprobó la extracción de minerales en una superficie que equivale al 12,2% del territorio nacional, donde habitan 54.686 personas indígenas y tiene una gran diversidad ecológica.

    Lee el artículo: El País 

     

     

  • Beyond Venezuela’s bad news headlines, success stories of people power shine through

    By Marianna Belalba Barreto Civic Space Research Lead, CIVICUS and Felipe Caicedo Otero Researcher, Latin American and Caribbean Network for Democracy (REDLAD)

    Search the keyword “Venezuela” online or check out news coverage of events in the South American country and you’re sure to be hit with headlines about a nation in the grips of a catastrophic crisisMillions of stricken citizens without food, cash, or rights fleeing to the border or languishing in hopelessness at home.

    This spotlight – highlighting stories of state repression, media censorship and attacks on human rights defenders – has shone on this oil-rich nation for years now, capturing the world’s attention.

    Read on: Open Democracy 

     

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  • CHILE: ‘Migration restrictions do not tackle the causes of migration’

    Delio.CubidesCIVICUS speaks with Delio Cubides, migration legal advisor at the Chilean Catholic Migration Institute (INCAMI), about the situation of migrants in Chile, and the restrictive measures and mass expulsions that took place this year. Founded in 1955, INCAMI is a civil society organisation dedicated to supporting migrants in Chile, including through providing reception services, social assistance, advice on document regularisation, training and support in finding employment.

    How did Chile get into its current situation of anti-migrant protests and mass expulsions?

    To answer this question, we should place ourselves in the international context, to which Chile is no stranger. Since 2010, there has been an increase in the number of migrants from non-border countries, such as Venezuela and Haiti, which has surpassed the inflow from border countries.

    To a certain extent, Chile has been viewed in the region as a country with security and institutional and economic stability, while since 2013 the political, social and economic situation in Venezuela has led to an exponential increase in the inflow of people from that country, with a peak in 2013 and another in 2018, despite the fact that, unlike Haitian migration, there is no family reunification visa for Venezuelans in Chile.

    Faced with this increase in migration, the current administration of Sebastián Piñera began to adopt restrictive measures; 30 days after taking office in 2018, it enacted a policy aimed at limiting the entry of Haitians and Venezuelans. Haitian migration was heavily restricted by the implementation of a simple consular tourist visa for entry into Chile and, like other migrants, also by the elimination of the work contract visa.

    Although we do not have exact figures, we know that the rejection rate for consular visas requested by Haitians has been high; testimonies from Haitian migrants that we deal with in our offices report numerous rejections for reasons beyond their control or due to requirements they are unable to comply with.

    For example, in order to grant a permanent stay permit to migrants already present in Chile, the government requires a criminal record certificate that must be obtained from the consulate of the country of origin. In the case of countries such as Haiti, the high cost and lengthy processing time in the country of origin is compounded by the fact that, in the current political, social and health context, the certificate is almost impossible to obtain. As a result, many people are unable to submit it within the established deadlines. This requirement is currently limiting access by hundreds of people of Haitian origin to the so-called ‘extraordinary regularisation process’.

    For migrants from Venezuela, a consular visa requirement known as a ‘democratic accountability visa’ was imposed in 2019. But the desperate situation in Venezuela continued to push people to migrate despite the obstacles, as migration restrictions do not address the causes of migration.

    What these measures did not achieve, the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic did: in November 2020 the government suspended around 90,000 visa procedures for Venezuelan applicants, and many others who had already been granted their visas or had their final interview scheduled could not enter Chile because the suspension of international flights prevented them from doing so within the 90-day period established by law; therefore, their applications were administratively closed without any consideration for the pandemic situation.

    Many people have filed amparo appeals – writs for protection of constitutional rights – and have managed to have their cases reopened, but Chile has clearly opted for a strategy of restriction. All these measures were taken to regulate and control a migratory flow that was growing, but many of us see it as a reflection of the lack of empathy for the humanitarian reality that these people are going through in their countries of origin. Many of them had requested protection or were in the process of reuniting with their families, and their projects were cut short either by the pandemic or by administrative restrictions.

    Is Chilean society polarised around the issue of migration?

    I don’t see such polarisation. The situation in the city of Iquique, where in September 2021 there was a march against the arrival of migrants, was an isolated event. It was also the result of the stress that can build up in a situation of coexistence in undignified conditions, a result of the lack of public policies capable of anticipating the drama of this humanitarian crisis.

    On social media, opinions are polarised and people say many things, but these positions have not materialised in marches on the capital, Santiago de Chile, or in other cities. On the contrary, in Iquique we have seen migrants on the streets in extremely difficult conditions, and city residents welcoming and helping them to the best of their ability.

    The situation in Iquique was also one of exclusion from the possibility of regularisation of people who entered through unauthorised passages, a direct result of Law No. 21.325 on Migration and Aliens passed in April this year. In the previous regularisation process in 2018, migrants who entered through unauthorised passages were allowed to register, although no work permits were granted. Migrants know this is the case, but they prefer this precarious situation to going hungry in their countries of origin.

    In the context of the pandemic, because of health restrictions, many migrants were forced to stay in public places, unable to go anywhere else, undocumented and excluded from social benefits. This created difficulties for local residents, as well as for the migrants themselves who lacked state assistance.

    It was only after some Venezuelan migrants died while crossing the border that the Chilean state began to provide assistance, on the understanding that they were in fact refugees or asylum seekers.

    What should the state do in this situation?

    The state has an obligation to provide a solution to this situation. An alternative could be for it to coordinate with the private sector, which is in need of workers, especially in construction, agriculture, services and in some professional categories. The situation of people fitting these profiles could be regularised through coordination with the private sector, providing them with training and job placement. This would provide a different perspective on migration and would help avoid situations of dependency and lack of autonomy.

    It seems that restrictions are not the best solution. Restrictions do not stop migration, and instead deepen the violations of migrants’ rights, as they make them susceptible to the challenges of the labour market and the housing rental market and limit their access to basic rights such as health and education. They are also of no use to the authorities, who do not know where migrants are, who they are, how many they are or how they have arrived.

    Over the entire recent period since Chile returned to democracy, none of a series of governments developed a real migration policy that reformed and updated existing regulations. The current government has been the only one to propose a change in the law on migration and in migration management, but, due to the context and the pressure of migratory flows, it has turned out to be a restrictive policy, or at least one that seeks to limit the flow. It is a policy that discourages people from entering the country, driving those in a regular situation to exhaustion due to eternal waits to obtain documents, lack of communication by migration authorities and bureaucratic centralisation in Santiago.

    We are now in the middle of an election campaign, and in such times migration can be exploited to win votes. The government programmes of all the candidates have very limited information on this issue, but all who have spoken about it have done so in a restrictive tone. I think the problem lies there, more than in the fact that there is xenophobia within society. It seems that migrants only begin to be heard when they become an electoral force, which in Chile is just beginning to happen.

    How adequate is the new law to achieving ‘safe, orderly and regular’ migration?

    Law 21.325 reflects well the position of this administration on the issue of migration. It should be remembered that in December 2018 Chile refused to sign the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, arguing that each country should retain its sovereignty to set its migration rules, even though Chile had been one of the countries that had led its drafting process.

    The new law has some positive aspects and enshrines some rights, such as the rights to health, education, family reunification and work. It includes visas for minors and gives consideration to people with disabilities and women, giving them protection in certain specific cases such as pregnancy, smuggling and trafficking and gender-based violence. It decentralises the revalidation of diplomas and increases the administration’s presence in Chile’s regions. It also gives people with dependent visas autonomy to develop an economic activity.

    Although these rights are not currently refused, they are not guaranteed by law either, but rather recognised administratively, which makes them somewhat fragile.

    At the same time, the new law represents a shift in migration management. Until now, the law allowed for changes of status within the national territory, but the new law will not allow this: all visas must be obtained from consulates in the migrants’ countries of origin. This will give the administration the ultimate decision on how many migrants to allow in, which and under what conditions. This is perhaps the biggest change introduced by the new law. Only in some cases will certain people be allowed to change their migration status, but this will depend on the content of the regulatory degree that is issued to implement the new law.

    What work is the Chilean Catholic Migration Institute doing in this context?

    As it is beyond our reach to tackle the causes of migration, we defend the rights of migrants. Our objectives are to welcome, protect and integrate them. 

    We advocate with the authorities, which sometimes comes at a cost. This is necessary work because although there are migrants’ organisations, they tend to be organised around one person, a leader, and are not highly institutionalised. There are organisations for Colombians, Ecuadorians, Haitians and Venezuelans, among others. There is also Chile’s National Immigrants’ Coordination, which brings together several organisations, has a presence in protests and social media, and includes several Haitian, Peruvian and Venezuelan collectives.

    We also provide legal advice, which is what is most lacking in Chile, due to a lack of access to information, which is not promoted by the authorities who should be attending to migrants. We help with online forms and procedures and provide social assistance, particularly in the form of shelter, as there are no state-run shelters for migrants.

    Everything that exists in Chile in the area of migrants’ reception and services is the result of civil society initiatives, largely by organisations, institutions and services of the Catholic Church. INCAMI is the Catholic Church’s main body on migration issues: through the work teams of the Pastoral of Human Mobility (PMH) in each of Chile’s regions, we coordinate the reception and care of migrants with other Church bodies. Our resources are limited, but during the pandemic we have opened churches to receive women and children and we have provided all the attention we could through social media.

    We listen to what people need, something the authorities don’t do. With the help of some municipalities, we accompanied the return of thousands of people not only from neighbouring Bolivia, but also from Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, Venezuela and other countries.

    Our migration teams travel not only within the Metropolitan Region of Santiago but also to Chile’s regions, to visit the municipalities with the greatest presence of migrants and offer them the possibility of regularising their status, obtaining a visa, working under fair conditions, contributing to the social security system and accessing their fundamental rights. Sometimes we do this with the support of PMH teams in the regions, government authorities or the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

    What support do organisations defending the rights of migrants in Chile need from the international community?

    We face a regional challenge that requires a regional response. States should coordinate an international approach to migration, as is already being done by the Regional Inter-Agency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela (R4V), led by the United Nations Refugee Agency and the IOM. Further progress is needed in this process, as the Venezuelan situation is far from over.

    In order to assist migrants while doing very necessary advocacy work, we need resources: staple foods to assemble basic food baskets and economic resources to pay for accommodation, among other things. It is important to remember that migrants are not the problem, but rather the symptom of realities undergoing deeper transformation, and most of them require protection.

    Civic space in Chile is rated ‘obstructed’ by theCIVICUS Monitor.
    Get in touch with the Chilean Catholic Migration Institute through itswebsite or itsFacebook andInstagram pages, and follow@INCAMIchile and@JosDelioCubides on Twitter. 

     

  • CHILE: “Las restricciones migratorias no atacan las causas de la migración”

    Delio.CubidesCIVICUS conversa con Delio Cubides, asesor jurídico migratorio del Instituto Católico Chileno de Migración (INCAMI), acerca de la situación de las personas migrantes en Chile, y sobre las medidas restrictivas y las expulsiones masivas que tuvieron lugar este año. Fundado en 1955, el INCAMI es una organización de la sociedad civil dedicada a apoyar a personas migrantes en Chile, proveyendo, entre otras cosas, servicios de acogida, asistencia social, asesoramiento para la regularización de documentos, capacitación y apoyo en la búsqueda de empleo.

    ¿Cómo se llegó en Chile a la actual situación de protestas contra migrantes y expulsiones masivas?

    Para responder esa pregunta deberíamos situarnos en el contexto internacional, al que Chile no es ajeno. Desde 2010 se percibe un aumento en la cantidad de personas migrantes de países no fronterizos, como Venezuela y Haití, que han superado al flujo procedente de países fronterizos.

    En cierta forma, Chile ha sido visto en la región como un país con seguridad y estabilidad institucional y económica, al mismo tiempo que la situación política, social y económica en Venezuela hizo que desde 2013 el ingreso de personas de ese país creciera exponencialmente, con un pico en 2013 y otro en 2018, pese a que, a diferencia de lo que ocurre con la migración haitiana, no existe en Chile una visa de reunificación familiar para venezolanos.

    Frente al aumento de las migraciones, la actual administración de Sebastián Piñera comenzó a tomar medidas restrictivas; de hecho, a los 30 días de asumido su mandato en 2018 publicó una minuta destinada a limitar el ingreso de personas haitianas y venezolanas. La migración haitiana se vio especialmente restringida por la implementación de un visado consular de turismo simple para el ingreso a Chile y, al igual que el resto, por la eliminación del visado por contrato de trabajo.

    Aunque no tenemos cifras exactas, sabemos que la tasa de rechazo de las visas consulares solicitadas por personas haitianas es alta; testimonios de migrantes haitianos que atendemos en nuestras oficinas dan cuenta de numerosos rechazos por motivos que les son ajenos o por requisitos que no está en sus manos cumplir.

    Por ejemplo, para la tramitación de la permanencia definitiva de las personas migrantes ya presentes en Chile, el gobierno solicita un certificado de antecedentes penales que debe obtenerse en el consulado del país de origen. En el caso de países como Haití, al costo elevado y la prolongada tramitación en el país de origen se suma el hecho de que, en el actual contexto político, social y sanitario, el certificado es casi imposible de conseguir. En consecuencia, muchas personas no logran presentarlo dentro de los plazos establecidos. En la actualidad, ese requisito está limitando el acceso de cientos de personas de origen haitiano al llamado ‘proceso de regularización extraordinaria´.

    A las personas migrantes procedentes de Venezuela se les impuso en 2019 la exigencia de una visa consular conocida como ‘visa de responsabilidad democrática’. Pero la situación desesperada de Venezuela siguió impulsando a las personas a migrar a pesar de los obstáculos, ya que las restricciones migratorias no atacan las causas de la migración.

    Lo que no lograron estas medidas lo hicieron las restricciones impuestas por la pandemia de COVID-19: en noviembre de 2020 el gobierno suspendió alrededor de 90 mil trámites de visas a personas venezolanas, y muchas otras con sus visas ya otorgadas o próximas a la entrevista de otorgamiento no pudieron ingresar a Chile porque la suspensión de los vuelos internacionales les impidió hacerlo dentro del plazo de 90 días que les otorga la ley; en consecuencia, sus trámites fueron cerrados administrativamente sin ninguna consideración por la situación de pandemia.

    Muchas personas han interpuesto recursos de amparo y han logrado reabrir sus casos, pero claramente Chile ha optado por una estrategia de restricción. Todas estas medidas se tomaron para regular y controlar un flujo migratorio que venía en crecimiento, pero muchos lo vemos como un reflejo de la falta de empatía a la realidad humanitaria que atraviesan estas personas en su país de origen. Muchas de ellas requerían protección o estaban en proceso de reunificarse con sus familias, proyectos que se vieron truncados ya sea por la pandemia, ya por las restricciones administrativas.

    ¿Está la sociedad chilena polarizada en torno del tema de la migración?

    Yo no veo tal polarización. La situación de la ciudad de Iquique, donde en septiembre de 2021 se produjo una marcha contra la llegada de migrantes, fue un hecho aislado, fruto también del estrés que puede generar una situación de convivencia en condiciones indignas, como consecuencia de la falta de políticas públicas que se anticiparan al drama de esta crisis humanitaria.

    En las redes sociales las opiniones se polarizan y la gente dice muchas cosas, pero estas posiciones no se han materializado en marchas en la capital, Santiago de Chile, o en otras ciudades. Al contrario, en Iquique hemos visto migrantes en las calles en condiciones sumamente difíciles, y a residentes de la ciudad ayudándoles y acogiéndoles en la medida de sus posibilidades.

    La situación en Iquique también fue de la exclusión de la posibilidad de regularización de las personas que ingresaron por pasos no habilitados, por efecto de la Ley 21.325 de Migración y Extranjería aprobada en abril de este año. En el anterior proceso de regularización de 2018 se permitió la incorporación de ingresantes por pasos no habilitados, aunque no se otorgaron permisos de trabajo a quienes se inscribieron. Las personas migrantes lo saben, pero prefieren esa precariedad antes que pasar hambre en su país de origen.

    En el contexto de la pandemia, a causa de las restricciones sanitarias, muchas personas migrantes se vieron obligadas a quedarse en plazas públicas, sin poder ir a ninguna parte, sin documentos y excluidas de los beneficios sociales. Esto generó dificultades para los residentes locales, así como para los propios migrantes desprovistos de asistencia estatal.

    Recién luego de que se produjeran muertes de migrantes venezolanos durante su cruce de la frontera, el Estado chileno comenzó a proveer asistencia, entendiendo que se trataba de personas refugiadas o solicitantes de refugio.

     

    ¿Qué tendría que hacer el Estado frente a esta situación?

    El Estado tiene la obligación de dar una solución a esta realidad. Una alternativa puede venir de la articulación con el sector privado, que requiere trabajadores sobre todo en la construcción, la agricultura, los servicios y ciertas profesiones. La situación de estas personas podría regularizarse previa coordinación con tal sector, brindándoles capacitación e inserción laboral. Esto daría otra perspectiva a la migración y evitaría situaciones de dependencia y de falta de autonomía.

    Pareciera que poner restricciones no es la mejor solución. Las restricciones no detienen las migraciones, y en cambio profundizan las vulneraciones de derechos de las personas migrantes, pues las hace susceptibles a las inclemencias del mercado de trabajo o del mercado de alquiler de vivienda y les limita el acceso a derechos básicos como salud y educación. Esto tampoco resulta útil para la autoridad, que no sabe dónde están, quiénes son, cuántos son o cómo llegaron.

    En todo el período reciente desde la recuperación de la democracia, ninguno de los sucesivos gobiernos de Chile desarrolló una verdadera política migratoria que incluyera una reforma y actualización de la normativa. Este gobierno ha sido el único con una propuesta de cambio en la Ley de Extranjería y en la gestión migratoria, pero, a causa del contexto y de la presión de los flujos migratorios, ha devenido en una política restrictiva, o cuanto menos limitante de los flujos. Es una política que desincentiva el ingreso al país, llevando también a las personas en situación regular a la extenuación por la eterna espera en la obtención de documentos, la escasa comunicación de la autoridad migratoria y la centralización de la gestión en Santiago.

    Ahora estamos en campaña, y en estos tiempos el tema migratorio puede ser instrumentalizado para ganar votos. Los programas de gobierno de todos los candidatos son muy pobres esta materia, pero todos los que han hablado del tema lo han hecho en un tono restrictivo. Creo que el problema pasa por ahí, más que por el hecho de que haya xenofobia en la sociedad. Pareciera que el migrante solo comienza a ser oído cuando se vuelve una fuerza con capacidad de elección, lo cual en Chile apenas empieza a ocurrir.

    ¿Qué tan apta es la nueva ley para lograr una migración “segura, ordenada y regular”?

    La Ley 21.325 refleja bien la posición de esta administración en torno al tema de la migración. Hay que recordar que en diciembre de 2018 Chile se negó a firmar el Pacto Mundial para una Migración Segura, Ordenada y Regular, alegando que cada país debe conservar su soberanía para fijar sus reglas migratorias, pese a que Chile había sido uno de los países que había liderado su redacción.

    La nueva ley tiene algunos aspectos positivos y garantiza ciertos derechos: a la salud, a la educación, a la reunificación familiar y al trabajo. Incluye visa para menores de edad y considera a las personas en situación de discapacidad y a las mujeres y les da protección en ciertos casos específicos como embarazo, tráfico y trata y violencia de género. Descentraliza la revalidación de títulos y aumenta la presencia en las regiones. Asimismo, concede autonomía para el desarrollo de actividad económica a las personas con visa en calidad de dependientes.

    Si bien estos derechos actualmente no están negados, tampoco están garantizados en la ley, sino que se conceden por vía administrativa, lo cual les confiere cierta fragilidad.

    Al mismo tiempo, la nueva ley representa un cambio en la gestión migratoria. Hasta ahora la normativa permitía el cambio de estatus dentro del territorio nacional, pero la nueva normativa no lo va a permitir: todas las visas deberán obtenerse en los consulados de los respectivos países de origen. Eso entregará a la administración la decisión última de cuántos migrantes permite entrar, cuáles y en qué condiciones. Este es tal vez el mayor cambio propuesto en la nueva ley. Solo en algunos casos se permitirá a algunas personas cambiar su estatus migratorio, pero esto dependerá de los contenidos del reglamento para la implementación de la nueva ley.

    ¿Qué trabajo realiza el Instituto Chileno Católico de Migración en este contexto? 

    Como está fuera de nuestro alcance atacar las causas de la migración, defendemos los derechos de las personas migrantes. Nuestros objetivos son acogerlas, protegerlas e integrarlas. 

    Hacemos incidencia con las autoridades, lo cual a veces tiene costos. Este es un trabajo necesario porque si bien existen organizaciones de personas migrantes, suelen estar organizadas en torno de una persona, un líder, sin mucha institucionalidad. Hay organizaciones de colombianos, ecuatorianos, haitianos y venezolanos, entre otros. También está la Coordinadora Nacional de Inmigrantes Chile, que nuclea a varias organizaciones, tiene presencia en las manifestaciones, en las redes sociales, y cuenta con presencia de varios colectivos haitianos, peruanos y venezolanos.

    También prestamos un servicio de asesoría legal, que es lo que más escasea en Chile, por falta de acceso a la información, que no es promovido por la autoridad que debería atender a las personas migrantes. Nos encargamos de trámites digitales y brindamos asistencia social, particularmente bajo la forma de casas de acogida, ya que no hay albergues para migrantes gestionados por el Estado.

    Todo lo que existe en materia de acogida y atención a personas migrantes en Chile es por iniciativa de la sociedad civil, y mayormente de organizaciones, instituciones y servicios de la Iglesia Católica. INCAMI es el organismo de la Iglesia Católica de Chile referente en temas de migración: a través de los equipos de trabajo de la Pastoral de Movilidad Humana (PMH) en las distintas regiones de Chile, coordinamos con otros organismos de la Iglesia la recepción y atención de personas migrantes. Nuestros recursos son limitados, pero durante la pandemia hemos habilitado iglesias y parroquias para recibir a mujeres y niños y hemos brindado toda la atención que hemos podido a través de las redes sociales.

    Nosotros escuchamos lo que las personas precisan, cosa que las autoridades no hacen. Con ayuda de algunas municipalidades acompañamos el retorno de miles de personas no solamente de la vecina Bolivia, sino también de Colombia, Ecuador, Haití, Venezuela y otros países.

    Nuestros equipos de atención migratoria se desplazan no solo dentro de la Región Metropolitana de Santiago sino también a las regiones, para visitar las comunas con mayor presencia de migrantes y acercarles la posibilidad de regularizarse, tener una visa, trabajar en igualdad de condiciones, aportar al sistema previsional y acceder a sus derechos fundamentales. En ocasiones lo hacemos con el apoyo de los equipos de la PMH en las regiones, de algunas autoridades o de la Organización Internacional para las Migraciones (OIM).

    ¿Qué apoyo necesitan de la comunidad internacional las organizaciones que defienden los derechos de las personas migrantes en Chile?

    Enfrentamos un desafío regional que requiere una respuesta regional. Los Estados deberían coordinar un abordaje internacional de la migración, como ya lo está haciendo la Plataforma Regional de Coordinación Interagencial para Refugiados y Migrantes de Venezuela (R4V), liderada por la Agencia de las Naciones Unidas para los Refugiados y la OIM. Se requiere seguir avanzando en este proceso, pues la situación que vive Venezuela está lejos de terminar.

    Para asistir a las personas migrantes al tiempo que hacemos este necesario trabajo de incidencia necesitamos recursos: bienes alimentarios para armar canastas básicas y recursos económicos para el pago de alojamiento, entre otras cosas. Es importante recordar que las personas migrantes no son el problema, sino que son el síntoma de realidades en transformación más profunda, y en su mayoría requieren protección.

    El espacio cívico en Chile es calificado como “obstruido” por elCIVICUS Monitor.
    Póngase en contacto con el Instituto Católico Chileno de Migración a través de susitio web o sus páginas deFacebook eInstagram, y siga a@INCAMIchile y a@JosDelioCubides en Twitter.

     

     

  • Five countries added to watchlist of countries where civic freedoms are under serious threat

     

    • Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sudan, and Venezuela join global watchlist
    • Escalating rights violations include killings, attacks on protesters, media restrictions and arbitrary detentions of human rights defenders
    • International community must pressure governments to end repression

    Five countries from Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Latin America have been added to a watchlist of countries which have seen a rapid decline in fundamental freedoms in recent weeks and months. The new watchlist released by the CIVICUS Monitor, an online platform that tracks threats to civil society across the globe, identifies growing concerns in Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sudan, and Venezuela.

    Activists and civil society organisations in these countries are experiencing an infringement of their civic freedoms as protected by international law. These violations include the use of excessive force by security forces during peaceful protests and journalists being arbitrarily detained and harrassed in both Sudan and Venezuela. In Serbia, space for independent media is under concerted attack while massive anti-government demonstrations are taking place. In Saudi Arabia, authorities continue the crackdown on women human rights defenders, who are being subject to arbitrary detentions and ill treatment for their activism on gender issues. While, in Afghanistan, there has been a record high number of civilian casualties (3,800 in 2018). The upcoming July presidential elections pose additional security risks and a threat to shrinking civic space, as over 400 civilians and voters were killed or injured (including eight candidates), during last October’s parliamentary elections.

    “It is deeply concerning to see escalated threats to basic rights in these countries,” said Marianna Belalba Barreto, CIVICUS Civic Space Research Lead. “It is critical that these five governments wake up to their failure to respect international law and take swift action to respect their citizens’ most basic freedoms in a democratic society and create an enabling environment for civil society organisations” Belalba said. “We also call upon neighbouring states and international bodies to put pressure on these countries to end the repression and ensure positive steps are taken to guarantee the safe space for civil society to continue their legitimate work”

    Large-scale anti-government demonstrations have been ongoing across Sudan since 19th December 2018 calling for President Omar Al-Bashir to step down in the context of a growing frustration over the harsh economic and social situation. In response, the authorities have launched a violent campaign targeting protesters, including doctors, teachers, journalists, women activists and opposition political leaders. With the declaration of a state of emergency, civic space restrictions continue to increase with hundreds of protesters on trial and dozens sentenced in summary trials on charges of participating in demonstrations.

    Serbia has witnessed sustained protest since December 2018. Protests started after an opposition politician was assaulted by unknown assailants wielding metal rods. For the most part, authorities in Serbia have largely ignored or attempted to downplay the scale of the protests. However on 17th March 2019 after 14 consecutive weeks of demonstrations, police in Belgrade used excessive force to disperse protesters that were calling for greater press freedom and fair elections. After encircling the Presidential building, clashes between protesters and police broke out, leading to the use of tear gas by Serbian authorities. Ten people were arrested in the confrontation. The government has also orchestrated a smear campaign against protesters  labelling opponents of the government as “paid” activists working against Serbian interests.

    Despite claims that the Saudi Arabian government is leading reforms to improve the situation of women in the country, Saudi authorities continue to persecute women activists. Since the crackdown began in May 2018, at least 22 women human rights defenders have been arrested and subjected to human rights violations because of their activism on gender issues. Reports indicate that several detained rights defenders have been subjected to torture including sexual assault and harassment.

    In Venezuela, since January 2019, massive anti-government protests have continued to take place in the country. The government has responded by using excessive force against demonstrators, arbitrarily detaining protestors, including teenagers, as well as detaining and harassing human rights defenders and journalists. Just between 21 and 25 January, at least 41 people died in circumstances linked to the protests,and more than 900 people were arbitrarily detained. For years, protesters in Venezuela have been met with excessive force by authorities, as people take to the streets to demand a change in government, the pattern of repression will likely intensify. Human rights organisations working to deliver humanitarian aid are especially targeted with harassment, and in some cases, their offices have been raided. It is estimated that more than three million venezuelans have fled the country due to the humanitarian crisis and denial of basic rights such as health and food.

    Since the beginning of 2019, at least three journalists have been killed in Afghanistan. The country was the world's deadliest for journalists in 2018 with 13 reporters and 2 other media professionals killed. Citizens risk being killed and attacked for participating in government elections and civil society is currently excluded from peace negotiations between the Taliban and the United States (U.S.), and parallel peace talks in Moscow. Women’s groups and persecuted communities are campaigning to have their voices heard in the peace process, and to ensure that any agreement guarantees human rights and democratic freedoms.

    In the coming weeks, the CIVICUS Monitor will closely track developments in each of these countries as part of efforts to ensure greater pressure is brought to bear on governments. CIVICUS calls upon these governments to do everything in their power to immediately end the ongoing crackdowns and ensure that perpetrators are held to account.

    See full CIVICUS Monitor Watchlist Summary


    For more information and to speak with regional and country specific contacts, please message:

    Marianna Belalba Barreto, CIVICUS Civic Space Research Lead

     

  • Global civil society condemns violent repression of anti-government protests in Venezuela

    • 40 people killed and more than 800 detained since public protests began on January 23
    • Journalists covering demonstrations have been attacked
    • The UN has called for an independent investigation into the state’s alleged used of force against protesters
    • The government of President Nicolás Maduro has often used violence against protesters since coming to power in 2013.
    • Global civil society groups have urged authorities to release all detainees and uphold citizens’ rights and the rule of law

       

    • Human Rights Council Elections 2019

      HRCIn October 2019, in New York, the UN General Assembly will elect 14 new members of the 47-member State Human Rights Council.

      Two of the rotating 14 seats are currently open to countries from Latin America and the Caribbean regional group.

      Until last week, only Venezuela and Brazil were standing as candidates for these two seats – which meant that both were guaranteed election to membership.

      This all changed at the beginning of October, when Costa Rica announced that it was throwing its hat into the ring. It is standing explicitly as an alternative to Venezuela, whom it has deemed unsuitable to be a Human Rights Council member because of its grave human rights violations. Now, with three candidates standing for two seats, the election is suddenly much more meaningful.

      At the last Session, the High Commissioner delivered a report on Venezuela which stated that over the last decade, in particular since 2016, Venezuela’s government has implemented a strategy “aimed at neutralising, repressing and criminalising political opponents and people critical of the Government.” The High Commissioner found that a series of laws, policies and practices have constrained civic and democratic space, allowing patterns of violation. The Council adopted a resolution on Venezuela to continue to monitor and report on these serious human rights violations. Many organisations believe that with its current record, Venezuela should not even stand for election, much less be voted in.

      As a current member of the Council up for re-election, Brazil has supported resolutions tackling human rights crises around the world. But since the beginning of the new administration it has seen an increase in violent rhetoric and, over the last year, a curtailment in human rights protections, anti-minorities policies and attacks against Human Rights Council mechanisms. Its influence in the region and beyond, Brazilian and regional and international organisations believe that it could pose a significant threat to multilateralism.

      There have been substantial civil society efforts from within both Brazil and Venezuela to advocate against their respective election to the Council. CIVICUS has members in both countries. Following the lead from our members on the ground, we believe that neither Brazil nor Venezuela should be elected to a seat on the UN’s main human rights body. CIVICUS recommends that states do not cast a ballot in favour of either country in a symbolic gesture to reject both candidates.

      There have always been repressive governments on the HRC – China, Iran and Saudi Arabia, for example, are among the Council’s current members – and this upcoming three-way fight can almost be seen as a microcosm of this wider dynamic.

      The Human Rights Council is the main intergovernmental body within the UN responsible for addressing human rights violations. As such, we believe that its members have a responsibility to uphold universal human rights and multilateralism. CIVICUS will continue to advocate for that states with poor human rights records, or states which undermine the aims and commitments of the Human Rights Council, should not be elected to its membership, and we call on UN member states to refuse to cast their ballots for those who fall short. This may only be a symbolic gesture, but it is an important one: for the Human Rights Council to adequately protect human rights around the world, it needs to demand more of its membership.

      In the meantime, we welcome Costa Rica’s courage and commitment in standing for membership, and we look forward to working with the delegation in Geneva in our shared vision for universal human rights.

      The other States up for election are:

      African Group:Benin,Libya,Mauritania andSudan (with four seats available)

      Asia-Pacific Group:Indonesia,Iraq,Japan,Marshall Islands andRepublic of Korea (competing for four seats)

      Eastern European Group:Armenia,Republic of Moldova andPoland (competing for two seats)

      Western European and Others Group:Germany and theNetherlands (with two seats available).

      For more information on the human rights records of these states, see ISHR’s ‘scorecards' for each State standing for election to the UN Human Rights Council.

       

    • Joint Universal Periodic Review Submissions on Human Rights

      CIVICUS makes joint UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) submissions on civil society space in Timor-Leste, Togo, Uganda, and Venezuela

      The United Nations Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review is a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all 193 UN Member States once every 4.5 years


      CIVICUS and its partners have submitted joint UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) submissions on four countries in advance of the 40th UPR session in February 2022. The submissions examine the state of civil society in each country, including the promotion and protection of the rights to freedom of association, assembly and expression and the environment for human rights defenders. We further provide an assessment of the States’ domestic implementation of civic space recommendations received during the 2nd UPR cycle over 4 years ago and provide a number of targeted follow-up recommendations. 

      Timor-Leste - This submission by CIVICUS, The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), Judicial System Monitoring Program (JSMP) and Timor-Leste Institute for Development Monitoring and Analysis (La'o Hamutuk) highlights our concerns around attempts by the government to introduce draft laws related to criminal defamation and the failure to bring the Media Law in line with international law and standards. It also documents reports of restrictions on the right to peaceful assembly and the arbitrary arrests of protesters.

      Togo FR/EN- In its joint submission, CIVICUS, Coalition Togolaise des Défenseurs des Droits Humains (CTDDH) and Réseau Ouest Africain des Défenseurs des Droits Humains (WAHRDN/ROADDH) highlight civic space violations in Togo since its previous UPR examination, which include the killing of protesters, the arrest and prosecution of HRDs, journalists and pro-democracy activists, the banning of civil society and opposition protests, the suspension of media outlets, regular disruption of access to the internet and social media and the adoption of restrictive legislation.

      Uganda-CIVICUS and the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI), Justice Access Point (JAP) and African Institute for Investigative Journalism (AIIJ) highlight the promulgation of restrictive laws that severely constrain the freedom of expression and impede the work of independent media houses. We further examine the harassment, judicial persecution and intimidation of HRDs because of the work they do. We discuss acts of intimidation and attacks on citizens, HRDs, CSOs and journalists in the period leading up to, during and after the presidential and parliamentary elections on 14 January 2021.

      Venezuela SP/EN - CIVICUS, Espacio Público and REDLAD examine Venezuela’s use of legal and extra-legal measures to restrict the exercise of fundamental freedoms which has led to worsening working conditions for civil society. Human rights defenders face judicial persecution, stigmatisation and threats to their lives and integrity. In this joint submission, we assess the systematic repression of the right to peaceful assembly, including through mass arbitrary detention of protesters and excessive use of force.


      Civic space in Timor-Leste is rated as Obstructed and Togo, Uganda and Venezuela are rated Repressed by the CIVICUS Monitor.

       

    • La práctica para silenciar voces críticas que lleva a cabo el gobierno requiere un control permanente por parte del Consejo

      Consejo de Derechos Humanos 49º período de sesiones

      Pronunciada por Marysabel Rodriguez Torres, Espacio Público

      Desde Espacio Público y en nombre de las víctimas que acompañamos, reiteramos la importancia de seguir con la documentación de la situación de derechos humanos en Venezuela, donde a la crisis institucional aún se suman los efectos sociales y económicos de la pandemia.

      De forma causal, el aumento de las restricciones a los derechos civiles y políticos busca silenciar las denuncias; el cierre de medios de comunicación, la detención arbitraria de personas por expresarse, o los constantes bloqueos en internet impiden la libre circulación de contenidos.

      Insistimos en la necesidad de garantizar el acceso a la información pública destacado por la Oficina en su informe previo, como una condición necesaria para el control social de la gestión pública a fin de superar la emergencia humanitaria compleja.

      La reciente decisión del Comité de Derechos Humanos que dictamina la violación de la libertad de información ante la negativa del Estado venezolano a dar cuenta de la gestión de medicinas, reveló una vez más la opacidad como práctica común, que termina afectando el conjunto de derechos, como la salud.

      Exhortamos a que la documentación, así como la asistencia y el apoyo a las víctimas escalen en el país. Apoyamos la renovación del mandato de la Misión de Determinación de los Hechos y agradecemos sigan manteniendo especial atención sobre la situación en Venezuela, dentro y fuera del territorio.

      Muchas gracias.

       

    • La sociedad civil mundial condena la represión violenta de las protestas en contra del gobierno en Venezuela

      • 40 personas han sido asesinadas y más de 800 detenidas desde que comenzaron las protestas el 23 de enero.
      • Los periodistas que cubren las manifestaciones han sido víctimas de ataques.
      • La ONU ha pedido una investigación independiente sobre el supuesto uso de la fuerza por parte del estado contra los manifestantes
      • El gobierno de Nicolás Maduro ha utilizado con frecuencia la violencia contra los manifestantes desde que llegó al poder en 2013.
      • Grupos de la sociedad civil global han instado a las autoridades a liberar a todos los detenidos y defender los derechos de los ciudadanos y el estado de derecho

         

      • New sentence by Venezuela´s Supreme Court consecrates a coup against the Venezuelan parliament

        Spanish

        Sentence No. 156, released around midnight on March 29, by which the Constitutional Chamber of Venezuela´s Supreme Court (TSJ) assumes all the powers of the National Assembly or delegates them to whom it decides, places Venezuela before the dissolution of the parliament by judicial means.

        There is no constitutional provision that allows the judicial body, designated by means of second-degree elections, to assume the functions of the National Assembly, which directly represents the population.

        The Constitutional Chamber has issued over 50 decisions that have gradually deprived the National Assembly of its legislative, controlling, investigative and designating functions, until it suspended parliamentary immunity by Sentence No. 155 the previous day, and finally assumes parliamentary functions as the legislative power.

        The parliament is a fundamental pillar of democratic institutions, as it is a space for participation and expression of the different groups that make up a nation. It is the space in which elected representatives, as well as organizations and members of civil society can debate and discuss the different proposals to create legislation and public policies. In this sense, this measure not only disrupts the constitutional order, but also violates the right of citizens to participate in public affairs.

        We call on the Supreme Court of Justice and the National Executive to cease ignoring the Constitution, as has been evidenced after the publication of the most recent decisions of the Constitutional Chamber, which allow for the implementation of measures and actions that undermine the Constitutional thread and break the democratic order in Venezuela, reaffirming the absence of the Rule of Law and consolidating a Dictatorial regime.

        Finally, we again urge that corrective measures be taken to reverse any decision that violates the constitutional norm, ignore the power of the popular vote represented in the elected National Assembly and deepen the country's withdrawal from a democratic system of respect for fundamental guarantees and human rights, in order to restore democracy and the rule of law, beginning with restoring and respecting the functions of the National Assembly.

        Subscribed by the following Venezuelan Civil Society Organizations:
        Acceso a La Justicia
        Acción Campesina
        Acción Solidaria
        Amigos Trasplantados de Venezuela
        Asamblea De Educación
        Asociación Civil María Estrella De La Mañana
        Asociación Civil Mujeres En Línea
        Asociación Civil Nueva Esparta En Movimiento
        Asociación Civil Radar De Los Barrios
        Asociación de Profesores de la Universidad Simón Bolívar, APUSB
        Asociación Venezolana de Mujeres
        Asociación Venezolana para La Hemofilia
        Aula Abierta Venezuela
        Banco Del Libro
        Cedice Libertad
        Centro de Animación Juvenil
        Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad Católica Andrés Bello, CDH-UCAB
        Centro de Estudios Sociales y Culturales
        Centro de Justicia y Paz, CEPAZ
        CIVILIS Derechos Humanos
        Coalición Cambio Climático 21
        Coalición por el Derecho a la Salud y la Vida, CODEVIDA
        Comisión de Derechos Humanos de la Facultad de Ciencias Jurídicas y Políticas, Universidad del Zulia
        Comisión de Derechos Humanos de la Federación Venezolana de Colegios de Abogados, Estado Táchira
        Comisión de Derechos Humanos de la Federación Venezolana de Colegios de Abogados, Estado Apure
        Comisión de Derechos Humanos de la Federación Venezolana de Colegios de Abogados, Estado Mérida
        Comisión para los Derechos Humanos del Estado Zulia
        Convite Asociación Civil
        Correo Del Caroní
        Espacio Humanitario
        Espacio Público
        EXCUBITUS, Derechos Humanos en Educación
        Federación Nacional de Sociedades de Padres y Representantes, FENASOPADRES
        Frente en Defensa del Norte de Caracas y Asamblea de Ciudadanos de La Candelaria
        Funcamama
        Fundación TAAP
        Fundamujer
        Fundeci
        Instituto Venezolano de Estudios Sociales y Políticos, INVESP
        IPYS Venezuela
        Laboratorio De Paz
        Llamado a la Conciencia Vial
        Médicos Unidos Carabobo
        Movimiento Vinotinto
        Observatorio de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad de Los Andes
        Observatorio Global de Comunicación y Democracia
        Observatorio Hannah Arendt
        Observatorio Venex
        Observatorio Venezolano de Conflictividad Social, OVCS
        Observatorio Venezolano de Prisiones, OVP
        OPCION Venezuela Asociación Civil
        Programa Venezolano de Educación-Acción en Derechos Humanos, PROVEA
        ProIuris
        Promoción Educación y Defensa en Derechos Humanos, PROMEDEHUM
        Sinergia, Asociación Venezolana de Organizaciones de Sociedad Civil
        Sociedad Hominis Iura, SOHI
        StopVIH
        Transparencia Venezuela
        Un Mundo Sin Mordaza
        Una Ventana a la Libertad
        Unión Afirmativa de Venezuela
        Unión Vecinal para la Participación Ciudadana
        Veedores por la Educación Aragua

         

      • Open Letter to president of Venezuela regarding the proposed International Cooperation Bill

        Presidente de la República
        S.E. Hugo Chávez Frías
        Palacio de Miraflores, Caracas,
        Venezuela
        Fax:+58.212.806 3698
        E-mail: 
         
        Your Excellency,
         
        Re: Proposed International Cooperation Bill
         
        I write as the Secretary General of CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, an international alliance of civil society with members and partners in over a hundred countries. CIVICUS works to strengthen civil society and citizen action throughout the world.
         
        We at CIVICUS, our members and partners, are deeply concerned about your recent comments urging National Assembly members to adopt a "severe" law to effectively stop international funding for NGOs. We would like to emphasise that Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) play an extremely important role in national life. Their constructive criticism and quest for greater accountability in public life are important assets for the nation. We therefore urge your government to respect expressions of legitimate dissent and unequivocally uphold civil society's rights to express, associate and assemble freely.

         

      • Orinoco mining arch: the crisis that few speak of in Venezuela

        By Marianna Belalba Barreto, researcher at CIVICUS, the World Alliance for Citizen Participation and Rafael Uzcategui, general coordinator of Provea, the Venezuelan Program of Education-Action in Human Rights.

        In 2016, the extraction of minerals was approved on a surface equivalent to 12.2% of the national territory, inhabited by 54,686 indigenous people and has a great ecological diversity.

        Read on: El País  

         

         

      • Outcomes & Reflections from 39th Session of UN Human Rights Council

        This session, the Council adopted landmark resolutions on several country situations, further enhancing its contribution to the protection of human rights. 

        On Myanmar, we welcome the creation of the independent investigative mechanism, which is an important step towards accountability for the horrific crimes committed in Myanmar, as elaborated in the Fact Finding Mission’s report to this session. The overwhelming support for the resolution, notwithstanding China’s shameful blocking of consensus, was a clear message to victims and survivors that the international community stands with them in their fight for justice. 

        On Yemen, the Council demonstrated that principled action is possible, and has sent a strong message to victims of human rights violations in Yemen that accountability is a priority for the international community, by voting in favor of renewing the mandate of the Group of Eminent Experts to continue international investigations into violations committed by all parties to the conflict. 

        Furthermore, we welcome the leadership by a group of States on the landmark resolution on Venezuela, and consider it as an important step for the Council applying objective criteria to address country situations that warrant its attention. The resolution, adopted with support from all regions, sends a strong message of support to the Venezuelan people. By opening up a space for dialogue at the Council, the resolution brings scrutiny to the tragic human rights and humanitarian crisis unfolding in the country.  

        While we welcome the renewal of the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) on Burundi, to continue its critical investigation and work towards accountability, we regret, however, that the Council failed to respond more strongly to Burundi's record of non-cooperation and attacks against the UN human rights system. 

        We also welcome the Council’s adoption of the resolution on Syria, which among other things condemns all violations and abuses of international human rights law and all violations of international humanitarian law committed by all parties to the conflict.

        However, on other country situations including China, Sudan, Cambodia and the Philippines, the Council failed to take appropriate action. 

        On Sudan, we are deeply concerned about the weak resolution that envisions an end to the Independent Expert’s mandate once an OHCHR office is set up; a "deal" Sudan has already indicated it does not feel bound by, and which is an abdication of the Council’s responsibility to human rights victims in Sudan while grave violations are ongoing. At a minimum, States should ensure the planned country office monitors and publicly reports on the human rights situation across Sudan, and that the High Commissioner is mandated to report to the Council on the Office’s findings.  

        We also regret the lack of concerted Council action on the Philippines, in spite of the need to establish independent international and national investigations into extrajudicial killings in the government's 'war on drugs', and to monitor and respond to the government's moves toward authoritarianism. 

        In addition, we regret the Council’s weak response to the deepening human rights and the rule of law crisis in Cambodia, failing to change its approach even when faced with clear findings by the Special Rapporteur demonstrating that the exclusive focus on technical assistance and capacity building in the country, is failing.

        We share the concerns that many raised during the session, including the High Commissioner, about China’s human rights record, specifically noting serious violations of the rights of Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities in Xinjiang province. It is regrettable that States did not make a concrete and collective call for action by China to cease the internment of estimates ranging up to 1 million individuals from these communities. 

        On thematic resolutions, we welcome the adoption of the resolution on equal participation in political and public affairs but would have preferred a stronger endorsement and implementation of the guidelines.

        The resolution on safety of journalists, adopted by consensus, sets out a clear roadmap of practical actions to end impunity for attacks. Journalism is not a crime - yet too many States in this room simply imprison those that criticize them. This must end, starting with the implementation of this resolution. 

        We welcome the adoption by consensus of the resolution on preventable maternal mortality and morbidity and human rights in humanitarian settings. Women and girls affected by conflict have been denied accountability for too long. The implementation of this resolution will ensure that their rights, including their sexual and reproductive health and rights, are respected, protected and fulfilled. 

        Finally, the Council’s first interactive dialogue on acts of reprisals and intimidation was an important step to ensure accountability for this shameful practice, and we urge more States to have the courage and conviction to stand up for human rights defenders and call out countries that attack and intimidate them.

        Signatories:
        The African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS)
        Amnesty International 
        Article 19
        Center for Reproductive Rights
        CIVICUS
        DefendDefenders
        FIDH
        Forum Asia 
        Human Rights House Foundation (HRHF)
        Human Rights Watch 
        International Commission of Jurists
        International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)

         

      • Outcomes & reflections from UN Human Rights Council

        38th Session of the Human Rights Council
        End of Session Joint Civil Society Statement

        Our organisations welcome the adoption of the resolutions on civil society space, peaceful protest, on violence against women and girls and on discrimination against women and girls and the Council’s rejection of attempts to impede progress on protecting civil society space, peaceful protest and the rights to sexual and reproductive health.

        On civil society space, the resolution recognizes the essential contribution that civil society makes to international and regional organisations and provides guidance to States and organisations on improving their engagement with civil society.  On peaceful protest, it sets out in greater detail how international law and standards protect rights related to protests. 

        On violence against women and on discrimination against women, we consider that ensuring sexual and reproductive health and rights are vital in efforts to combat violence and discrimination against women, online and offline, as well as to ensure targeted and specific remedies to victims. We appreciate that the work of women human rights defenders towards this is recognised. 

        We consider the adoption of the resolution on the contribution of the Council to the prevention of human rights violations as an important opportunity to advance substantive consideration on strengthening the Council’s ability to deliver on its prevention mandate.

        Following challenging negotiations, we welcome the adoption by consensus of the resolution on human rights and the Internet, reaffirming that the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online, and calling on States to tackle digital divides between and within countries, emphasising the importance of tools for anonymity and encryption for the enjoyment of human rights online, in particular for journalists, and condemning once more all measures that prevent or disrupt access to information online.

        We welcome continued Council attention to Eritrea's abysmal human rights record. This year's resolution, while streamlined, extends expert monitoring of, and reporting on, the country and outlines a way forward for both engagement and human rights reform. We urge Eritrea to engage in long-overdue meaningful cooperation. 

        We welcome the renewal of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Belarus under item 4 with an increased vote - as it is still the only independent international mechanism to effectively monitor human rights violations in Belarus - while remaining concerned over a narrative to shift the mandate to item 10 in the absence of any systemic change in Belarus. 

        We welcome the consensus resolution on the Democratic Republic of Congo, putting in place continued monitoring and follow up on the expert’s recommendations on the Kasais. However, given violations and abuses throughout several regions in the country, occurring against the backdrop of an ongoing political crisis, delayed elections, and the brutal quashing of dissent, we urge the Council to promptly move towards putting in place a country-wide mechanism that can respond to events on the ground as they emerge.

        We welcome the strong resolution on Syria, which condemns violations and abuses by all parties, and appropriately addresses concerns raised by the COI about the use of chemical weapons, sexual and gender-based violence, and the need to address situations of detainees and disappearances. The Council cannot stay silent in the face of continued atrocities as the conflict continues unabated into its seventh year.

        We welcome the joint statements delivered this session on Cambodia, the Philippines,and Venezuela. We urge Council members and observes to work towards increased collective action to urgently address the dire human rights situations in these countries.  

        On the Philippines, we emphasise that the Council should establish an independent international investigation into extrajudicial killings in the ‘war on drugs’ and mandate the OHCHR to report on the human rights situation and on moves toward authoritarianism.  

        The joint statement on Cambodia represents a glimmer of hope after the Council's failure to take meaningful action against clear sabotage of democratic space ahead of elections. Close scrutiny of the human rights situation before, during and after the elections is paramount and the Council must take immediate action on current and future human rights violations in this regard.

        We welcome the joint statement delivered by Luxembourg  calling on the HRC President to provide short oral updates on cases of alleged intimidation or reprisal, including actions taken, at the start of the Item 5 general debate of each Council session and also provide States concerned with the opportunity to respond.

        Finally, the new Council member to replace the United States should demonstrate a principled commitment to human rights, to multilateralism and to addressing country situations of concern by applying objective criteria. 

        Joint Statement by Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), the Association for Progressive Communications, the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, DefendDefenders (the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project), Human Rights House Foundation (HRHF), International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) 

         

      • Progress and shortcomings from 44th Session of the Human Rights Council

        Joint Statement for the end of the 44th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

        The 44th session of the UN Human Rights Council began with China's imposition of legislation severely undermining rights and freedoms in Hong Kong. Within days, there were reports of hundreds of arrests, some for crimes that didn’t even exist previously. We welcome efforts this session by a growing number of States to collectively address China’s sweeping rights abuses, but more is needed. An unprecedented 50 Special Procedures recently expressed concerns at China’s mass violations in Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Tibet, suppression of information in the context of Covid-19, and targeting of human rights defenders across the country. The Council should heed the call of these UN experts to hold a Special Session and create a mechanism to monitor and document rights violations in the country. No state is beyond international scrutiny. China’s turn has come.

        The 44th session also marked an important opportunity to enable those affected directly by human rights violations to speak to the Council through NGO video statements.

        Amnesty's Laith Abu Zeyad addressed the Council remotely from the occupied West Bank where he has been trapped by a punitive travel ban imposed by Israel since October 2019. We call on the Israeli authorities to end all punitive or arbitrary travel bans.

        During the interactive dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on Syria, victims’ associations and families of victims highlighted the human rights violations occurring in detention centers in Syria. We welcome the efforts by some States to underline their demands and welcome the adoption of the Syria resolution on detainees and urge the Syrian government to take all feasible measures to release detainees and provide truth to the families, noting the important pressure needed by Member States to further call for accountability measures for crimes committed in Syria.

        Collette Flanagan, Founder of Mothers against Police Brutality, also delivered a powerful video statement at the Council explaining the reality of racist policing in the United States of America. We fully support victims’ families’ appeals to the Council for accountability.

        We hope that the High Commissioner's reporton systemic racism, police violence and government responses to antiracism peaceful protests will be the first step in a series of meaningful international accountability measures to fully and independently investigate police killings, to protect and facilitate Black Lives Matter and other protests, and to provide effective remedy and compensation to victims and their families in the United States of America and around the world.

        We appreciate the efforts made by the Council Presidency and OHCHR to overcome the challenges of resuming the Council’s work while taking seriously health risks associated with COVID-19, including by increasing remote and online participation. We recommend that remote civil society participation continue and be strengthened for all future sessions of the Council.

        Despite these efforts, delays in finalising the session dates and modalities, and subsequent changes in the programme of work, reduced the time CSOs had to prepare and engage meaningfully. This has a disproportionate impact on CSOs not based in Geneva, those based in different time zones and those with less capacity to monitor the live proceedings. Other barriers to civil society participation this session included difficulties to meet the strict technical requirements for uploading video statements, to access resolution drafts and follow informal negotiations remotely, especially from other time zones, as well as a decrease in the overall number of speaking slots available for NGO statements due to the cancellation of general debates this session as an ‘efficiency measure.’

        We welcome the joint statement led by the core group on civil society space and endorsed by cross regional States and civil society, which calls on the High Commissioner to ensure that the essential role of civil society, and States’ efforts to protect and promote civil society space, are reflected in the report on impact of the COVID-19 pandemic presented to the 46th Session of the HRC. We urge all States at this Council to recognise and protect the key role that those who defend human rights play.

        These last two years have seen unlawful use of force perpetrated by law enforcement against peaceful protesters, protest monitors, journalists worldwide, from the United States of America to Hong Kong, to Chile to France, Kenya to Iraq to Algeria, to India to Lebanon with impunity.

        We therefore welcome that the resolution “the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of peaceful protests” was adopted by consensus, and that the Council stood strongly against some proposed amendments which would have weakened it. We also welcome the inclusion in the resolution of a panel during the 48th session to discuss such events and how States can strengthen protections. We urge States to ensure full accountability for such human rights violations as an essential element of the protection of human rights in the context of protests. The current context has accelerated the urgency of protecting online assembly, and we welcome that the resolution reaffirms that peaceful assembly rights guaranteed offline are also guaranteed online. In particular, we also commend the resolution for calling on States to refrain from internet shutdowns and website blocking during protests, while incorporating language on the effects of new and emerging technologies, particularly tools such as facial recognition, international mobile subscriber identity-catchers (“stingrays”) and closed-circuit television.

        We welcome that the resolution on “freedom of opinion and expression” contains positive language including on obligations surrounding the right to information, emphasising the importance of measures for encryption and anonymity, and strongly condemning the use of internet shutdowns. Following the High Commissioner’s statement raising alarm at the abuse of ‘false news’ laws to crackdown on free expression during the COVID-19 pandemic, we also welcome that the resolution stresses that responses to the spread of disinformation and misinformation must be grounded in international human rights law, including the principles of lawfulness, legitimacy, necessity and proportionality. At the same time, we are concerned by the last minute addition of language which focuses on restrictions to freedom of expression, detracting from the purpose of the resolution to promote and protect the right. As we look to the future, it is important that the core group builds on commitments contained in the resolution and elaborate on pressing freedom of expression concerns of the day, particularly for the digital age, such as the issue of surveillance or internet intermediary liability, while refocusing elements of the text.

        The current context has not only accelerated the urgency of protecting assembly and access to information, but also the global recognition of the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment. We welcome the timely discussions on ”realizing children’s right to a healthy environment” and the concrete suggestions for action from panelists, States, and civil society. The COVID-19 crisis, brought about by animal-to-human viral transmission, has clarified the interlinkages between the health of the planet and the health of all people. We therefore support the UN Secretary General’s call to action on human rights, as well as the High Commissioner’s statement advocating for the global recognition of the human right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment – already widely reflected at national and regional levels - and ask that the Council adopts a resolution in that sense. We also support the calls made by the Marshall Islands, Climate Vulnerable Forum, and other States of the Pacific particularly affected and threatened by climate change. We now urge the Council to strengthen its role in tackling the climate crisis and its adverse impacts on the realization of human rights by establishing a Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Climate Change, which will help address the urgency of the situation and amplify the voices of affected communities.

        The COVID crisis has also exacerbated discrimination against women and girls. We welcome the adoption by the Council of a strong resolution on multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination against women and girls, which are exacerbated in times of a global pandemic. The text, inter alia, reaffirms the rights to sexual and reproductive health and to bodily autonomy, and emphasizes legal obligations of States to review their legislative frameworks through an intersectional approach. We regret that such a timely topic has been questioned by certain States and that several amendments were put forward on previously agreed language.

        The Council discussed several country-specific situations, and renewed the mandates in some situations.

        We welcome the renewal of the Special Rapporteur’s mandate and ongoing scrutiny on Belarus. The unprecedented crackdown on human rights defenders, journalists, bloggers and members of the political opposition in recent weeks ahead of the Presidential election in August provide a clear justification for the continued focus, and the need to ensure accountability for Belarus’ actions. With concerns that the violations may increase further over the next few weeks, it is essential that the Council members and observers maintain scrutiny and pressure even after the session has finished.

        We welcome the extension of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Eritrea. We urge the government to engage, in line with its Council membership obligations, as the Special Rapporteur’s ‘benchmarks for progress’ form a road map for human rights reform in the country. We welcome the High Commissioner report on the human rights situation in the Philippines which concluded, among other things, that the ongoing killings appear to be widespread and systematic and that “the practical obstacles to accessing justice in the country are almost insurmountable.” We regret that even during this Council session, President Duterte signed an Anti Terrorism Law with broad and vague definition of terrorism and terrorists and other problematic provisions for human rights and rule of law, which we fear will be used to stifle and curtail the rights to freedom of opinion and expression, to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. Also during this session, in a further attack on press freedom, Philippine Congress rejected the franchise renewal of independent media network ABS-CBN, while prominent journalist Maria Ressa and her news website Rappler continue to face court proceedings and attacks from President Duterte after Ressa’s cyber libel conviction in mid-June. We support the call from a group of Special Procedures to the Council to establish an independent, impartial investigation into human rights violations in the Philippines and urge the Council to establish it at the next session.

        The two reports presented to the Council on Venezuela this session further document how lack of judicial independence and other factors perpetuate impunity and prevent access to justice for a wide range of violations of civil, cultural, economic, political, and social rights in the country. We also urge the Council to stand ready to extend, enhance and expand the mandate of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission when it reports in September. We also welcome the report of the Special rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967 and reiterate his call for States to ensure Israel puts an end to all forms of collective punishment. We also reiterate his call to ensure that the UN database of businesses involved with Israeli settlements becomes a living tool, through sufficient resourcing and annual updating.

        We regret, however, that several States have escaped collective scrutiny this session.

        We reiterate the UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard’s call to pressure Saudi Arabia to release prisoners of conscience and women human rights defenders and call on all States to sustain the Council’s scrutiny over the situation at the September session.

        Despite calls by the High Commissioner for prisoners’ release, Egypt has arrested defenders, journalists, doctors and medical workers for criticizing the government’s COVID-19 response. We recall that all of the defenders that the Special Procedures and the High Commissioner called for their release since September 2019 are still in pre-trial detention. The Supreme State Security Prosecution and 'Terrorism Circuit courts' in Egypt, are enabling pre-trial detention as a form of punishment including against human rights defenders and journalists and political opponents, such as Ibrahim Metwally, Mohamed El-Baqer and Esraa Abdel Fattah, Ramy Kamel, Alaa Abdel-Fattah, Patrick Zaky, Ramy Shaat, Eman Al-Helw, Solafa Magdy and Hossam El-Sayed. Once the terrorism circuit courts resumed after they were suspended due to COVID-19, they renewed their detention retroactively without their presence in court. It’s high time the Council holds Egypt accountable.

        As highlighted in a joint statement of Special Procedures, we call on the Indian authorities to immediately release HRDs, who include students, activists and protest leaders, arrested for protesting against changes to India’s citizenship laws. Also eleven prominent HRDs continue to be imprisoned under false charges in the Bhima Koregaon case. These activists face unfounded terror charges under draconian laws such as sedition and under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. While we welcome that Safoora Zargar was granted bail on humanitarian grounds, the others remain at high risk during a COVID-19 pandemic in prisons with not only inadequate sanitary conditions but also limited to no access to legal counsel and family members. A number of activists have tested positive in prison, including Akhil Gogoi and 80-year-old activist Varavara Rao amid a larger wave of infections that have affected many more prisoners across the country. Such charges against protestors, who were exercising their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly must be dropped. We call on this Council to strengthen their demands to the government of India for accountability over the excessive use of force by the police and other State authorities against the demonstrators.

        In Algeria, between 30 March and 16 April 2020, the Special rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, human rights defenders, issued three urgent appeals in relation to cases involving arbitrary and violent arrests, unfair trials and reprisals against human rights defenders and peaceful activists Olaya Saadi, Karim Tabbou and Slimane Hamitouche. Yet, the Council has been silent with no mention of the crackdown on Algerian civil society, including journalists.

        To conclude on a positive note, we welcome the progress in the establishment of the OHCHR country office in Sudan, and call on the international community to continue to provide support where needed to the transitional authorities. While also welcoming their latest reform announcements, we urge the transitional authorities to speed up the transitional process, including reforms within the judiciary and security sectors, in order to answer the renewed calls from protesters for the enjoyment of "freedom, peace and justice" of all in Sudan. We call on the Council to ensure continued monitoring and reporting on Sudan.

        ENDORSEMENTS

        International Service for Human Rights
        DefendDefenders (East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project)
        Center for Reproductive Rights
        Franciscans International
        The Syrian Legal Development Programme
        Egyptian Front for Human Rights (EFHR)
        CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
        International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR)
        International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA World)
        Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS)
        Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
        Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)
        ARTICLE 19
        International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
        Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
        IFEX
        Association for Progressive Communications
        International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)
        Amnesty International

         


        Current council members:

        Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Burkina FasoBrazil, Cameroon, Chile, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Eritrea, Fiji, Germany, India, Indonesia, ItalyJapan, Libya, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mexico, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Poland, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Senegal, Slovakia, SomaliaSudan, Spain, Togo, Ukraine, Uruguay, Venezuela

        Civic space ratings from the CIVICUS Monitor

        OPEN NARROWED OBSTRUCTED  REPRESSED CLOSED

         

         

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