Human Rights Groups Air Venezuela Concerns Before Summit

David Smilde

In the days leading up to the Summit of the Americas, humanrights groups have begun to put out press releases on their issues, including Venezuela.

A group of twenty-eight human rights organizations led by Human Rights Watch emitted a press release called “Venezeula: Stop Harrassing Human Rights Defenders.” It calls on the leaders meeting in Panama to “press the administration of Nicolás Maduro to ensure that human rights defenders can do their job without fear of reprisals.” It provides a review of this harrassment occuring through state media such as the television program El Mazo Dando hosted by National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello.

Venezuela’s PROVEA and the Center for Human Rights at the Catholic University put out a press release that addressed this issue and several others. They argue that the summit provides an opportunity for the Organization of American States to recover its relevance.  

They call for OAS members to encourage Venezuela to reverse its denunciation of the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights.  They also call on member states to push for dialogue and trustworthy elections. Finally they reject the unilateral US sanctions saying they do not guarantee due process and should have been moved through regional organizations.

In the coming days WOLA will author a similar op-ed with several regional partners.