Through the report presented by the Presidential Commission for Human Rights and Attention to Victims in 2020, it was learned that there is a pattern of executions that particularly affects young men with limited resources as a result of the militarization of citizen security.
In this regard, the Presidential Commission confirmed the statistics of extrajudicial executions by the Special Action Forces (FAES), that amounts to 400 identified victims and another 125 unidentified victims.
This is on top of the more than 2,500 killings registered in the national territory by Michelle Bachelet, from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
This was reported on Tuesday by the Presidential Commissioner for Human Rights and Attention to Victims, Humberto Prado, in the session of the Delegate Commission of the National Assembly that was carried out remotely, where he indicated that this instance documented and identified 232 arbitrary detentions.
The Commissioner pointed out that the office he represents had news of 106 other victims who presumably had also been detained, 69% of the arrests in cases of press workers were clandestine and therefore possibly illegal or arbitrary, while only 31% were accompanied by legal proceedings.
Prado indicated that Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental Rights (ESCR) have been severely violated in 2020 within the context of the pandemic.
At least 79.3% of the population does not have enough purchasing power to cover the basic food basket, 96% of households are in a situation of poverty and 79% are in extreme poverty.
Only 13% of the population has uninterrupted drinking water and as for food, 27% of Venezuelans are technically beggars, while 42% of households had to look for food on the street and 35% claimed to have consumed foods they would rather not have eaten.
In addition, the basic food basket is around $ 300 US dollars, which is equivalent to 230 minimum wages as of December 2020.
Venezuela has the highest mortality rate in the region for healthcare workers
Regarding groups in vulnerable situations, he assured that healthcare workers were the most affected with 297 healthcare workers killed by COVID-19 until December 2020, as registered by Médicos Unidos and PROVEA.
“It is noteworthy that Venezuela has the highest mortality rate in the region for healthcare workers and the majority of these are women.”
The Office of the Presidential Commission documented a total of 212 femicides, of which an additional 56 were reported abroad. Furthermore, the Commission carried out a national survey on street sexual harassment and in the report entitled “Structural discrimination and gender violence in Venezuela until August 2020: Not one more Venezuela” determined that 86.4% of the population reports that they were always or almost always victims of sexual harassment.
At the same time, about 10 million women are affected by the reduction of 326 tons of contraceptives, NGO CONVITE AC reported a shortage of 78% of contraceptives. “This affects the exercise of sexual and reproductive rights,” he stressed.
Regarding persons deprived of liberty, the aforementioned Commission confirmed together with civil society that at least 299 extrajudicial executions occurred in 2020 in national prisons, 61% of the deaths were associated with police violence while 33% were due to malnutrition and health conditions, only 4.4% were due to other causes.
In relation to the LGBTI community, the office confirmed that until 2017, 109 people had been murdered due to their sexual orientation and by 2020 it was confirmed that there are about 6,000 LGBTI families that require legal protection and do not have it. He pointed out that many laws that promote discrimination against this group of people remain in force.
Draft Law for the protection of human rights defenders
In relation to human rights defenders, the Presidential Commission confirmed that there were about 286 attacks against them. Also, it stated that the Commission worked on this circumstance by preparing a draft bill for the adoption of measures to protect H. R. defenders through the creation of a dependency and after analysis by the ombudsman’s office. This will be presented to the Delegate Commission of the National Assembly.
Venezuela with the highest rate of ecocides in the region
Environmental rights have also been severely harmed with massive ecocides reported last year. In this regard, Venezuela is one of the countries that has the highest numbers with 2,801,136 hectares deforested in the last 5 years.
Likewise, there were 20 oil spills in Lake Maracaibo only in 2020 and it was reported that the fish surrounding the Golfo Triste have 350% more mercury in their tissue, affecting residents who are at higher risk of suffering from cancer and other diseases.
Regarding the democratic institutionality, the text indicates that the National Parliament was severely restricted and on June 15th, 2020 the illegitimate constitutional chamber intervened irregularly the AD, PJ and VP parties, its legitimate authorities were disincorporated and replaced by leaders close to the de facto government of Nicolás Maduro, people who had previously been expelled from their respective parties. “The foregoing reveals the lack of judicial independence in Venezuela since the constitutional judge decides what is required to protect the interests of the de facto government regardless of how irrational said decision may be.”
In addition, the Commission learned of the illegal arrest of 6 members of the interim presidency, whose acts also extended to their inner circle, leaving 5 family members and friends deprived of liberty.
Likewise, a continuous cycle of persecution against political dissidents was observed, to the point of materializing in the arbitrary detention of a deputy, a councilor and two political leaders of a democratic party.
The document presented by the lawyer Huberto Prado, details that the Presidential Commission has sought to promote the ratification of international protocols and treaties such as the Protocol of San Salvador and the Additional Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Torture. Also, they have submitted 4 requests for Precautionary Measures of Protection and more than 200 urgent appeals to the International Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).
He also said that the Commission has placed the content of this report in the hands of international protection organizations, especially to comply with the recommendation of the UN Fact Finding Mission to accelerate the preliminary examination process before the International Criminal Court (ICC) and to comply with the application of universal jurisdiction over those persons responsible for serious human rights violations as well as crimes against humanity.