Examination of Venezuela before the Committee against Torture: A key moment to assess the situation in the country and the commitment to combat torture

A coalition of civil societyorganizations and academic institutions[1]submitted an alternative report to the Committee Against Torture in view of theconsideration of Venezuela’s third and fourth periodic report concerning theimplementation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman orDegrading Treatment or Punishment (the Convention), that will take place at the53rd period of sessions, in October 2014. This document is theexecutive summary of the mentioned report which is available in Spanish and inEnglish[2].

Despite significantprogresses such as the approval of the Special Law to Prevent and PunishTorture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment (Law against Torture)and amendments to the Organic Law on the Right of Women to a Life Free fromViolence, theorganisations who are the authors of this report express concern about the factthat torture continues to be committed by security forces and perpetuated dueto a lack of action on the side of the national authorities.

At the internationallevel, Venezuela is yet to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Conventionagainst Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment(OPCAT), which was signed by this country in July 2011 during the UniversalPeriodi Review in the Human Rights Council. Venezuela has not yet accepted thevisit requests extended by several UN human rights mechanisms such as the UNSpecial Rapporteur on Torture and the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom ofAssembly and ofAssociation. Atthe national level, protesters continue to be strongly repressed throughexcessive use of police force, threats, acts of harassment, arbitrarydetentions and other forms of ill-treatment. An increase of the repressionduring the first semester of 2013 up to the present has been perceived by theauthors of the report.

[1]This shadow report was jointly written by the Civil Association Foundation forJustice, Solidarity and Peace (Asociación Civil Fundación Justicia, Solidaridady Paz - Funpaz); the Civil Association for a Diverse Venezuela (AsociaciónCivil Venezuela Diversa); the Human Rights Program and the RedDes Project atthe Lisandro Alvarado University; the Centre for Human Rights at the Universityof Margarita; the Human Rights Centre at the Metropolitan University; the“Padre Luis María Olaso” Centre for Peace and Human Rights (Centro para la Pazy los Derechos Humanos “Padre Luis María Olaso”) at the Central University ofVenezuela; the Inter-Institutional Human Rights Commission in the Faculty ofLaw and Political Science at the University of Zulia, the School of Law at theRafael Urdaneta University and the Human Rights Commission of the Zulia BarAssociation; the Committee of Relatives of the Victims of the Events of February-March1989 (Comité de Familiares de las Victimas de los Sucesos de Febrero-Marzo de1989 - COFAVIC), Nueva Esparta in Motion (Nueva Esparta en Movimiento); theVenezuelan Observatory for the Human Rights of Women (Observatorio Venezolanode los Derechos Humanos de las Mujeres); and the Human Rights Vicariate of theArchdiocese of Caracas (Vicaría de Derechos Humanos de la Arquidiócesis deCaracas); with the support and cooperation of the World Organisation AgainstTorture (OMCT).

[2] Seealternative report on CAT website.

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