Human Rights Council
14 September–2 October 2020
Agenda item 4
Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention
The present report, submitted to the Human Rights Council pursuant to Council resolution 42/25 of 27 September 2019, contains the findings of the independent international fact-finding mission on the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. The mission provides an overview of its findings with respect to extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions and torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment, committed in the country since 2014. The Mission concludes the report with its assessment of responsibilities for the violations found.
In its resolution 42/25 of 27 September 2019, the Human Rights Council established an independent fact-finding mission on the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (hereinafter “Venezuela”) “to investigate extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions and torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment since 2014 with a view to ensuring full accountability for perpetrators and justice for victims”.
The Human Rights Council requested the fact-finding mission (the “Mission”) to present a report on its findings during its forty-fifth session in September 2020. The Mission produced two reports, the present report and an extended conference room paper, providing more detail on incidents, analysis and conclusions.
The Human Rights Council urged Venezuelan authorities to cooperate fully with the fact-finding mission, to grant it immediate, full and unfettered access to and throughout the country, including to victims and places of detention, and to provide it with all the information necessary to fulfil its mandate (para. 25).
The Mission sent the Government official correspondence on six occasions between January and August 2020 and did not receive any response. The Mission regrets that it was not able to meet with Venezuelan authorities, either within or outside of the country, to discuss the mandate and to obtain relevant information.
Lack of access to the country and travel restrictions related to Covid-19 presented challenges for the Mission’s work, and in some respects led to a more restricted focus than would otherwise have been the case. Nonetheless, the Mission was able to gather the information necessary to establish facts and draw conclusions in accordance with its mandate. The investigation has identified patterns and documented specific incidents establishing reasonable grounds to believe that violations of international human rights law have been committed, along with crimes under national and international criminal law.