Human Rights Council
15 June–3 July 2020
Agenda item 2
Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General
Pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 42/4, the present report provides an overview of the human rights situation in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela from June 2019 to May 2020, including the outcome of investigations into allegations of violations of the human rights to life, liberty and integrity of the person.
Resolution 42/4 of the Human Rights Council requested the High Commissioner for Human Rights to “present a comprehensive written report on the situation of human rights in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela at its forty-fourth session, including the outcomes of the investigation on the ground into allegations of possible human rights violations of the human rights to life, liberty and physical and moral integrity in the country, to ensure the accountability of perpetrators and redress for victims”.1
This report focuses on the situation of human rights in Venezuela between June 2019 and May 2020, particularly on the issues outlined in resolution 42/4. The report also provides an overview of the cooperation between the Government of Venezuela and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) during the reporting period.
On 20 September 2019, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Venezuela and the High Commissioner for Human Rights signed a Letter of Understanding setting out parameters for cooperation for a period of one year, renewable upon further agreement of both parties. In October 2019, they agreed upon a work plan on technical assistance. On this basis, two OHCHR human rights officers have been working in Venezuela since October 2019 under the mandate of the High Commissioner and as part of the Office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator. In addition, there has been temporary support of three human rights officers to conduct activities contemplated in the work plan.
This report is based on information collected by OHCHR through interviews with multiple sources and meetings with a broad range of State and other stakeholders. It takes into account official information and data provided by the Government, the Office of the Attorney General and the judiciary, including through a questionnaire sent by OHCHR for the purpose of this report. The report also reflects the analysis of information and documents provided by victims, civil society and other sources.
The findings presented in this report have been documented and corroborated in line with OHCHR methodology. OHCHR exercised due diligence to assess the credibility and reliability of all sources and crosschecked the information gathered to verify its validity.
OHCHR sought informed consent from the sources it interviewed, ensuring confidentiality when requested, and took all appropriate measures to protect their identity.
During the reporting period, the political crisis deepened due to persistent tensions between the Government and the opposition. Despite international and national efforts, the main political actors have been unable to reach a comprehensive negotiated solution to resolve the protracted political crisis. Political discussions mainly focused on establishing the conditions for parliamentary elections, scheduled for 2020, and on the opposition´s demand for advanced presidential elections. OHCHR welcomes the recent efforts between the Government and the political opposition to join forces with the Pan American Health Organization to collaborate in pursuing policies and searching for international financial resources to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
OHCHR welcomes the increased cooperation with authorities and access to the country. Some of the human rights concerns presented in this report are being addressed through technical assistance requested by the Government to OHCHR in areas such as prevention of torture, access to justice and conditions of detention. OHCHR’s presence in Venezuela has also allowed it to engage more closely with victims and to promptly channel their claims to duty-bearers.