In its most recent virtual session, the Human Rights Committee of the IPU Parliamentarians examined and made recommendations to the Governing Council on the cases of some 300 opposition parliamentarians from different countries, regarding recent complaints and calls for attention to cases involving them in events where their basic rights to freedom of expression, assembly and transit have been restricted in the context of elections, particularly in Venezuela.
Regarding our country were taken into account the cases of 154 deputies who have been victims of systematic violations, together with their relatives and close entourage of their human rights and parliamentary immunity, as well as of the right to due process, including in the discussion the accounts described in the report of the UN Fact-Finding Mission. Also, the irregularities revolving around the considered fraud of December 6th, 2020 for not having the constitutional requirements to support it as an election, the arbitrariness and illegalities committed by Nicolás Maduro’s regime that have to do with the disregard for the legitimate National Assembly and the unconstitutional decisions taken by the illegitimate TSJ and the CNE with respect to the opposition parties, demonstrating the inexistent separation of powers and the alarming levels of corruption in the country. Thus, the IPU:
1. Denounces the intense repression by Nicolás Maduro’s regime and his sympathizers during the last 5 years, of the parliamentarians for their political opinions, evidenced by acts of extreme gravity and persistence such as mistreatment, harassment, threats and stigmatization committed by agents of the State faithful to the regime, paramilitary groups and violent groups made up of sympathizers of the regime in a climate of impunity. Also, denounces the numerous measures adopted by those who usurp the Executive Power and by the illegitimate Supreme Court during the present legislature to undermine the integrity and independence of the National Assembly. Considers that this situation, as a whole, constitutes a manifest attempt to hinder the effective exercise of the will of the people expressed in the elections of December 2015. Points out that parliamentarians must be free to seek, receive and impart information and ideas without fear of reprisal and that parliament can only fulfill its democratic role if its members enjoy the right to freedom of expression and have the opportunity to speak on behalf of their representatives.
2. It once again urges the authorities representing Maduro to put an end without delay to any forms of harassment against members of the National Assembly, to ensure that all authorities representing the regime respect human rights and the immunity of parliamentarians, to thoroughly investigate allegations of violations of their rights and establish accountability in this area, and to ensure that the National Assembly and all its members are able to fully carry out their constitutional functions.
3. Notes with deep concern the conclusions and recommendations contained in the recently published report of the UN Human Rights Council’s Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Venezuela, which gives further proof to the accusations of political repression and the responsibility of the Venezuelan regime at the highest level. Expresses its firm hope in this regard that the State in Venezuela, with the support of the international community, will be able to redress the violations and crimes of extreme gravity documented in the report.
4. It deeply regrets that Nicolás Maduro’s regime has not yet given written assurances that the mission to Venezuela long proposed by the IUP can finally be carried out. The IPU remains convinced that such a mission could help address current concerns, and reiterates its request to the Secretary General to work with the parliamentary authorities and those who usurp the Venezuelan Executive, so that the mission is carried out as soon as possible. Travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic will be lifted, subject to official written notification of guarantees that it can be carried out under the conditions necessary for its effectiveness.
5. The IPU reaffirms once again that the issues raised by the cases under consideration are part of the broader political crisis in Venezuela, which can only be resolved through political dialogue and by the Venezuelans themselves. It reaffirms that the IPU is willing to contribute to any effort to strengthen democracy in Venezuela and requests the competent authorities to inform about the best way to provide assistance.
6. The IPU Solemnly affirms that both in the letter and spirit of the IPU Universal Declaration on Democracy, the key element of democratic functioning is the holding of free and fair elections which allow for the expression of the will of the people, on the basis of universal, equal and secret suffrage so that all voters can choose their representatives on the basis of equality, openness and transparency. It therefore expresses its deep concern that the current restrictions and the institutional framework governing the legislative fraud envisaged for December 2020 appear to seriously undermine the level playing field required for members of the opposition and their supporters to exercise their fundamental right to participate in the conduct of public affairs on the same basis as the ruling party and its supporters. In this regard, it urges the authorities representing the regime to take all necessary steps to resolve these problems without delay.
7. It urges the regime represented by Nicolás Maduro and its supporters to abstain from violence and the authorities supporting it to take all necessary measures to protect human life, to respect the right of persons to peaceful assembly, their right to freedom of expression and to participate in the conduct of public affairs, to vote and to be elected, as well as their right to benefit from equal access to elective office in the perspective of the electoral fraud announced for December 2020 in Venezuela. It calls upon the authorities of the regime to abstain from any act that in any way may violate the rights of all current members of the National Assembly.
8. Calls upon all IPU member parliamentarians, IPU permanent observers, parliamentary assemblies and relevant human rights organizations to take concrete steps to contribute to the urgent resolution of the individual cases in question and of the political crisis in Venezuela, with respect to democratic values and human rights; and expects to be assisted by all relevant regional and international organizations.
9. It requests the Secretary General to bring this decision to the attention of the competent authorities, the complainants and any third party that may provide him with relevant information.
10. Requests the committee to continue to examine this case and to report back in due course.