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BRIEF

Venezuela Rights Group Warns of Rise in Vigilantes

VENEZUELA / 27 MAY 2011 BY HANNAH STONE EN

A Venezuelan non-governmental organization has released a report warning of the spread of vigilante groups, often involving police, operating in the country.

The Committee of Families of the Victims (Comite de Familiares de Victimas - COFAVIC), said that there was a pattern of impunity in cases of extrajudicial executions and forced disappearances carried out by these groups.

Based on a study of incidents between 2000 and 2009, the organization said that many of the victims were young men. Police were allegedly involved in more than 60 percent of the cases.

COFAVIC said that many extrajudical executions were presented as the result of confrontations between police and a suspect.

Venezuela has been working on an overhaul of its police force, which is accused of corruption and widespread human rights abuses.

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