HomeNewsBriefUN Calls Out Venezuela on Torture Allegations
BRIEF

UN Calls Out Venezuela on Torture Allegations

HUMAN RIGHTS / 7 NOV 2014 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

Venezuela has been called before the UN Committee Against Torture to respond to allegations of widespread abuse perpetrated by security forces — an event that could further undermine the credibility of a struggling regime penetrated by organized crime.

Following reports presented by Amnesty International and other NGOs, the United Nations Committee Against Torture (CAT) is examining whether Venezuela complies with the anti-torture convention to which the country is a signatory, reported El Universal (see video). 

The reports include cases of more than 3,000 people who allegedly suffered abuses after being detained during anti-government protests earlier this year. According to CAT rapporteur Jens Modvig, these ranged from denial of medical care to sexual violence. 

Another expert present during the meeting noted that only 12 public officials have been convicted of human rights violations in Venezuela over the past decade, in spite of the fact that there have been over 5,000 complaints. 

CAT officials also questioned alleged security force collaboration with unofficial armed collectives, and apparent issues with anti-torture legislation enacted by Venezuela last year. These included a lack of clarity regarding whether citizens’ human rights are protected before they have officially been taken into custody and a lack of independence for the country’s torture prevention committee, reported EFE

Finally, CAT addressed the troubling conditions in Venezuela’s prisons, including extreme overcrowding and excessive use of pretrial detention. 

Venezuela responded that “The Bolivarian Revolution respects everybody’s human rights,” and the Public Ministry called claims by NGOs and lawyers “unfounded.”

InSight Crime Analysis

Although Venezuela’s commitment to human rights has long been questioned by international observers, this is the first time in over a decade that the country has been called in front of the UN’s anti-torture body. The event represents a blow to President Nicolas Maduro, who has attempted to paint the political opposition as “fascists” and “killers.” Amid waning support for the regime, the administration must now justify its severe actions against protesters to an international audience.  

SEE ALSO: Venezuela News and Profiles

The CAT hearing also places the spotlight on Venezuela’s security forces, shortly after the country’s Interior Minister and the leadership of the investigative police (CICPC) were replaced following a case in which five members of armed collectives were killed in an alleged confrontation with CICPC officials. There have been frequent accusations of extrajudicial killings and kidnappings committed by Venezuela’s police, while high-ranking members of the military are thought to be deeply involved in the drug trade. 

The torture allegations also highlight the extreme emphasis the regime has place on targeting political opponents, while failing to adequately address citizen security problems, shortcomings in the judicial system, and an evolving organized crime landscape.

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

BARRIO 18 / 20 APR 2017

Olfato. It is a term used quite often in law enforcement and judicial circles in Central America (and other parts…

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 21 FEB 2018

A criminal group has been reported smuggling weapons of war out of Venezuela to expand their illegal activities, taking advantage…

HOMICIDES / 6 JUN 2017

A new report from an international non-governmental organization says that the 10 countries with the highest child homicide rates…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Strategic Communications Manager Job Description

12 FEB 2021

InSight Crime is looking for a full-time strategic communications manager. This person needs to be able to work in a fast-paced world of daily news, high-profile investigations, national and international…

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. …