CIVICUS deeply appreciates High Commissioner’s update, regretfully on an ever darker and more dangerous world.
We are shocked by the report of the man-made disaster in Yemen. In addition, according to the CIVICUS Monitor journalists and human rights defenders continue work in risky conditions caused by the ongoing conflict that has forced three million people to flee their homes. The conflict has left more than seven million at risk of famine and there are currently 500,000 suspected cases of cholera - a third of these are children. NGOs have called for an independent international Inquiry into human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law, and we strongly reiterate this call and urge members of the Council to vote for a resolution with such a mandate.
We equally share the HC’s concern about Venezuela. Findings from CIVICUS Watch show that there are serious violations of the rights to freedom of association, peaceful assembly and expression. Freedom of expression is severely constrained; Radio and Television channels have been closed and, according to Espacia Publica 49 radio stations removed from the air. 800 attacks against freedom of expression documented. Due to new regulations on peaceful assembly more than 5000 were detained during anti -government protest since April 2017 with more than 1,300 persons still in detention. Detainees were often subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and, in several cases documented, the ill-treatment amounted to torture. We call on members of the Council to address the situation in Venezuela as a matter of urgency. The government should be made aware of the fact that those responsible for these human rights abuses will be brought to justice once judicial independence is restored. In addition we call on the Maduro government to:
- End the repression and release all political prisoners
- Set a date for free and fair elections with proper independent oversight
- Restore judicial independence and the power of the National Assembly, and
- Immediately allow sufficient international aid into the country