WOLA laments the bloodshed and loss of lives in Venezuela in recent days and calls for renewed commitment to dialogue on behalf of the government and protestors alike.
To lower tensions, prevent further bloodshed, and create an atmosphere more conducive to dialogue, WOLA calls on both President Maduro and opposition leaders to take every opportunity to unequivocally condemn acts of violence, regardless of the source.
The Venezuelan people are unquestionably sovereign over their internal affairs, but Venezuelans can and must find ways to manage their differences in a manner that is consistent with universal human rights guarantees.
In that spirit, WOLA calls on the Venezuelan government to:
- Respect citizens’ rights to peaceful assembly and protest and to ensure the safety of those who seek to exercise those rights, consistent with Venezuela’s human rights obligations and with international standards on policing and the use of force;
- Refrain from using the recent violence as a pretext for persecuting political opponents engaged in legitimate, peaceful, and lawful activities;
- Ensure thorough investigations of the violent incidents surrounding the recent protests in Caracas and other cities; and
- Guarantee due process of justice for any and all individuals accused of responsibility for inciting or carrying out the violence, whatever their political views.
At the same time, WOLA urges protestors and opponents of Venezuela’s government to:
- Exercise responsibly their rights to peaceful assembly and protest by avoiding acts of violence or destruction; and
- Put forward concrete demands to which the government can respond.
Finally, building on these steps, we call on both the government and its opponents to actively seek dialogue with each other, mindful of the need to gain the confidence and address the concerns of all Venezuelans.
Photo courtesy Andres AZP