The Washington Office on Latin America condemned today the decision by the Venezuelan government to expel two human rights investigators, José Miguel Vivanco and Daniel Wilkinson, after their organization, Human Rights Watch, issued a report that criticized some policies of the Venezuelan government.
Venezuelan authorities expelled Vivanco and Wilkinson on Thursday after the two investigators presented their report, “A Decade Under Chávez”, in Caracas. Vivanco and Wilkinson are the director and deputy director, respectively, of Human Rights Watch’s Americas division.
WOLA believes that no state should be exempt from scrutiny of its human rights record. Political leaders obviously have the right to disagree with the conclusions drawn by human rights advocates, and debate over human rights issues can be spirited and sometimes sharp-edged. But governments should not seek to silence human rights criticism.
After years of political polarization, Venezuela can only benefit from open debate on human rights. WOLA urges the Venezuelan government to rescind this decision and allow the return of Vivanco and Wilkinson.
Washington Office on Latin America, (202) 797 2171