52nd session of the Human Rights Council
Agenda item 4: Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention
Interactive dialogue on the oral update of the High Commissioner on the situation of human rights in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
21st March 2023
Joint Statement with Meezan Centre for Human Rights and Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ)
Delivered by Juanita Beltran / GICJ
We welcome the independent fact-finding mission on the human rights in Venezuela. We remain however concerned about the situation affecting indigenous communities and human rights defenders.
The threats indigenous communities and other minorities face in the gold mining areas is unacceptable. Many of them are coerced into sexual abuse through threats of violence, restrictions on their freedom of movement and torture. The indigenous population has to fight against the exploitative interests of both the state and criminal groups. As a response the government militarized indigenous territories resulting in massive abuses of power and human rights violations. Consequently, several indigenous leaders have been targeted. This constant invasion to their territories and natural resources violates both domestic and international instruments on indigenous people’s rights.
Furthermore, Human Rights Defenders are under attack. The draft on law on control and financing of non-governmental and related organizations possess an imminent threat to freedom of expression through permitting their permanent surveillance. This legislation would grant the state the right to arbitrarily arrest and sanction human rights defenders on grounds of threats to the national sovereignty.
Meezaan Center for Human Rights and Geneva International Centre for Justice encourage the state of Venezuela to reconsider passing this draft law as the consequences of this could result in a further deepening of the humanitarian crisis the country has been in for years now.
I Thank you.