State continues to repress civil society
On 21st April 2023, the Centre for Human Rights Defenders and Justice recorded 226 attacks on human rights defenders in Venezuela in the first four months of 2023. The cases include harassment, stigmatisation, attacks and arbitrary detention. In addition, the Centre noted in its report that the Venezuelan authorities have continued smear campaigns targeting civil society organisations. Of concern in the report, the Venezuelan government has put forward two bills that would impact the legal operations of civil society in a potentially restrictive way and include the Law on the Control, Regulation, Performance and Financing of Non-Governmental and Related Organisations and the Law on International Cooperation.
On 4th April 2023, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights granted precautionary measures for the protection of seven labour union leaders from the National Workers Labour Coalition in Venezuela. Since 2022, the beneficiaries of the measures have played a leading role in calling for protests over the policies of the National Budget Office, which have negatively impacted working conditions. The seven labour union leaders include: Annaliese Josiel Toledo Castillo, Carlos Eduardo Salazar Ojeda, Elsa Isabel Castillo González, José Paulino Patines Guanique, Leída Rosa Brito de Lobo, Petra Margot Monasterios and Rafael Octavio Arreaza Padilla. They have faced threats, harassment, and surveillance from the state.
#HablemosDDHH— Centro para los Defensores y la Justicia (@DefensoresDDHH_) May 3, 2023
REPORTE CDJ | Situación de personas defensoras de derechos humanos en Venezuela – Primer Trimestre 2023
Entre enero y marzo de 2023 se registraron 226 nuevos hechos, lo que representa un incremento del 131% de actos que afectan al derecho a defender. pic.twitter.com/d0Ix3XPpx9
The Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict recorded 489 protests during April 2023, an average of 16 per day. This figure represents a decrease of 36% compared to the same period last year. The state, however, continues to repress peaceful demonstrations. In April, the Observatory documented four protests that were suppressed by the authorities.
#InformeOVCS | Abril 2023— Observatorio de Conflictos (@OVCSocial) May 19, 2023
📌 Protestas de trabajadores en el epicentro de la conflictividad social en Venezuela.
📢 489 protestas durante el mes.
⭕️ La exigencia de derechos laborales constituye la primera demanda.
Detalles: https://t.co/YYMBdmYIuC pic.twitter.com/digMX5VTFE
The Inter-American Press Association reported in April 2023 that Maduro's government has continued to restrict freedom of the press and expression. From October 2022 to April 2023, 80 radio stations have been forced to close. In addition, the Association reported that the state communications regulator blocked news websites, bringing the total to approximately 60 sites currently inaccessible.
On 3rd May 2023, Espacio Público published its report on freedom of expression and information in Venezuela. The organisation registered 227 cases of attacks on this right in 2022, which represents a decrease of 7% compared to the number of cases reported in 2021. However, violations of these rights continue; 114 cases targeted media and 75 cases involved media workers. Of the total, 60% of the victims were male, while 40% were female. The main perpetrators of violations of these rights, according to the report, include the state institutions - Compañía Anónima Nacional Teléfonos de Venezuela, the National Communication Commission, and the National Electric Corporation.
On 12th May 2023, the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression with the InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) expressed concern over the ending of the radio opinion programme Mesa de Análisis, which occurred after journalist and lawyer Leonaldi Meza interviewed the opposition presidential pre-candidate Delsa Solórzano and reported on a scandal involving the manager of PDVSA Gas Comunal in Barinas, Carlos López, and the governor, Sergio Garrido. Espacio Público and the IACHR Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression condemned the cancelling of the radio programme, noting that such actions violate the right to freedom of expression and restricts the plurality of opinions.
🏽La intimidación hacia trabajadores de la prensa por parte de funcionarios de seguridad sigue siendo un factor común en las coberturas informativas.— Espacio Público (@espaciopublico) May 31, 2023
En 2022 documentamos unas 8⃣4⃣ denuncias por este motivo.
Conoce más en nuestro #InformeVE2022 https://t.co/lMXZjLonm3 pic.twitter.com/a2YXqvfsEm