Venezuela: Government responsible for 'one of the worst human rights crisis in its history' - new report

'Instead of protecting people, the Venezuelan authorities are using the language of war to try to legitimise the use of excessive force by police and military officials' - Erika Guevara-Rosas
'Instead of protecting people, the Venezuelan authorities are using the language of war to try to legitimise the use of excessive force by police and military officials' - Erika Guevara-Rosas © Amnesty International

Statistics show boys and men between 12 and 29 years old most likely to be killed

‘President Maduro should guarantee the right to life, instead of taking the lives of the country's young people’ - Erika Guevara-Rosas

The Venezuelan government is responsible for the “one of the worst human rights crisis in its history”, intentionally using lethal force against the most vulnerable in society, Amnesty International said today (September 20), as it published its latest research into violence and abuse in the country.

The 58-page report - This is no way to live: Public security and the right to life in Venezuela - shows how the Venezuelan government is failing to protect its people amidst alarming levels of insecurity in the country, instead implementing repressive and deadly measures.

Amnesty’s extensive study includes revealing the latest data into human rights abuses in the country, including:

  • 8,292 extrajudicial executions took place in the last two years between 2015 and 2017.
  • 4,667 (22%) of the homicides in 2016 were at the hands of security officials.
  • Last year, 95% of murder victims were men, 60% between 12 and 29 years old.
  • 87% of people live in poverty.
  • There has been a 65% increase in maternal mortality.
  • There has been a 30% increase in infant mortality.

Amnesty’s report shows how, despite the implementation of at least 17 security plans in the past 17 years, the government has failed to prevent armed violence and investigate other human rights violations in the country. Instead, Venezuelan authorities have publicly stated that killing people in the context of security operations is a successful practice.

One of the most notable consequences of these mass human rights violations and the lack of public security has been a dramatic increase in the number of people fleeing to other countries, mainly in the Americas. The UN estimates that 2.3 million people have left Venezuela since 2014.

Erika Guevara-Rosas, Amnesty International Americas Director, said:

“Venezuela is going through one of the worst human rights crises in its history. The list of crimes under international law against the population is growing.

“It is alarming that, instead of applying efficient public policies to protect people and reduce levels of insecurity, the Venezuelan authorities are using the language of war to try to legitimise the use of excessive force by police and military officials and, in many cases, the use of lethal force with intent to kill.

“The government of President Maduro should guarantee the right to life, instead of taking the lives of the country's young people.

“The government must urgently launch a national programme to reduce homicides and effectively implement a policing model that includes guidelines on the proportional and differentiated use of force and firearms that fully comply with international human rights norms and standards.”

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