HomeNewsBriefSecurity Forces Killed 250 Venezuela Children in 2016: Report
BRIEF

Security Forces Killed 250 Venezuela Children in 2016: Report

HUMAN RIGHTS / 16 MAR 2017 BY VENEZUELA INVESTIGATIVE UNIT EN

Security forces in Venezuela killed over 250 minors in 2016, a steep rise compared to the previous year and yet another worrying indication of the excessive use of force by state agents amid deteriorating security conditions in the country. 

A total of 254 adolescents and young children were killed by Venezuelan security forces last year, according to a new report by the civil society group Cecodap, which focuses on the rights and needs of children and adolescents. That figure represents a 43.5 percent increase from the 177 reported youth deaths at the hands of security forces in 2015.

Of the 2016 deaths, 162 occurred during “police confrontations,” the report found, while 21 came as the result of security operations carried out as part of the anti-crime initiative Operation Liberation and Protection of the People (Operación de Liberación y Protección del Pueblo – OLP), designed to attack the growing “megabandas” across the country, a new form of heavily armed organized crime. The government has since re-branded the initiative as Operation Humanist Liberation of the People (Operación Liberación Humanista del Pueblo – OLHP) amid concerns of widespread human rights abuses. 

The overall number of children killed in Venezuela last year rose to 1,150, a 12.1 percent increase from 2015. 

The figures from Cecodap are based on a comprehensive review of news reports from 31 national and regional media outlets. 

InSight Crime Analysis

It’s not clear what caused the rise in security force violence against youths and children, but it’s probably due to a combination of factors — none of which are promising for Venezuela’s security outlook in 2017.  

The well-documented use of excessive force by Venezuelan security forces is the most glaring possibility. The OLPs in particular have come under heavy criticism for using indiscriminate, heavy-handed violence; they were linked to an October 2016 massacre and have been likened to death squads because of the high number of casualties inflicted during their operations. But the Cecodap’s data suggests the problem is generalized across the country’s police forces.  

SEE ALSO: Venezuela News and Profiles

The country’s ongoing economic crisis has also led to a collapse in the social order, causing a rise in crime and overall lawlessness. Without any viable opportunities in the legal economy, more minors may be turning to crime in order to earn some sort of income. A physician and member of Venezuela’s political opposition told the Miami Herald last year that 20 percent of children face problems associated with malnutrition, a stark illustration of how the country’s economic plight — and its attendant problems — have affected the country’s most vulnerable populations. Interviews by InSight Crime in Venezuela suggest that many small criminal gangs are manned by youths, many of them under the age of 18.

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Related Content

MEGABANDAS / 5 NOV 2018

A short cellphone video of a "mega-gang" leader in Venezuela shows him relaxed, partying and seemingly thumbing his nose at…

COLECTIVOS / 26 APR 2017

Venezuela's National Assembly launched a commission to investigate the role of government-backed militias during recent, widespread deadly protests, while calling…

HOMICIDES / 2 APR 2015

Citing government figures, a prominent opposition leader in Venezuela has said the country's impunity rate hovers at about 98 percent, an…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…