Venezuela: UN experts warn of rising number of disappearances ahead of elections

Венесуэла: эксперты ООН предупреждают о росте числа случаев исчезновения граждан в преддверии выборов

View of Caracas, the capital of Venezuela. Venezuela: UN experts warn of rising number of disappearances ahead of elections Human rights

Venezuela, which will hold presidential elections in July, has seen an increase in disappearances in recent months. Most of the missing are members of the country’s main opposition political party, as well as military personnel, UN experts said today.

They emphasized that depriving a person of his liberty, the subsequent refusal to acknowledge his detention, as well as the concealment of information about his fate or whereabouts puts him outside the protection of the law. Such cases fall into the category of so-called “forced disappearances.” 

“Long-term detention incommunicado is equivalent to enforced disappearances. “This is a pattern in which government authorities deprive people of their liberty, place them in detention centers and deprive them of basic rights and protections such as contact with the outside world and access to legal assistance,” said members of the UN Working Group on Violent or Violent Action. involuntary disappearances. 

“As the country prepares for presidential elections in July 2024, enforced disappearances could have a chilling effect and interfere with people’s right to vote freely,” it added they. 

Experts also said it is necessary to provide accurate information about people deprived of their liberty to those who have a legitimate interest, such as their relatives and lawyers.

Enforced disappearances, human rights activists say also involve violations of many human rights, including the right to recognition as a person before the law, the right to liberty and security, and the right to freedom from torture. “The fundamental rights of relatives of the missing person are also being violated,” human rights activists added.

They noted that impunity in this situation undermines trust in the rule of law and government institutions and “perpetuates an atmosphere of fear and insecurity in society.”

Experts called on the Venezuelan authorities to prevent enforced disappearances and punish those responsible for them, provide information on the fate and whereabouts of those currently detained incommunicado detention, as well as provide them with the necessary legal protection.  

The Working Group on Enforced Disappearances informed the government of its readiness provide him with technical support to ensure respect for the rights of persons deprived of liberty and their relatives, as well as the investigation of cases of enforced disappearance. 

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