Newsletter N°140, Political Prisioners in Venezuela

Cotler tapped for Venezuela crimes against humanity inquiry

October 16, 2017

Former member of Parliament and justice minister Irwin Cotler is one of three independent experts who will examine the evidence collected on possible crimes against humanity committed in Venezuela under the current regime of President Nicolas Maduro.

Cotler, who is founder and chair of the Montreal-based Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, was named by the Organization of American States (OAS), along with Manuel Ventura Robles, former judge of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and Santiago Canton, former executive secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

OAS secretary general Luis Almagro said their task is to assess whether the situation in Venezuela should be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC).Read more

Venezuelan Opposition Courts Attention With Event at OAS

October 13, 2017

Magistrates appointed by Venezuela’s opposition-led parliament were installed at a ceremony Friday at the Organization of American States’ Washington headquarters. Whether they are recognized as a valid Supreme Court forced into exile or a “parallel and illegitimate” entity is a matter of interpretation.

Domingo Javier Salgado, one of 18 magistrates at the late-morning ceremony, contends they’re part of the constitutionally mandated «autonomous and independent» bench – unlike the predominantly pro-government justices based in Caracas, the capital. «This is sending a very positive message both to the international community and to Venezuelans,» he told VOA earlier this week. Read more

Canada Questions Legitimacy of Venezuela Election Results
Octubre 17, 2017

The Canadian government has questioned the results of the gubernatorial elections held on Sunday in Venezuela and expressed its concern about the numerous irregularities that put their legitimacy in doubt.

The elections in the Caribbean nation were won by the ruling Chavista movement by a vast majority.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a statement on Twitter Monday that Canada is “very concerned by yesterday’s polling centre closures & relocations – clearly favouring #Venezuela regime, hindering free + fair elections.” Read more

European Union Moves Closer to Issuing Sanctions against Venezuela’s Maduro Regime

October 12, 2017

The possibility of the European Union issuing sanctions against the Maduro regime in Venezuela became much more likely this week, as officials agreed to discuss ways to respond to the country’s constant human rights violations.

Sources linked to EU member countries assured the AFP news agency that the international body reached an “agreement of principles” to discuss the possibility of issuing sanctions.

“We are in agreement on principle, and about the fact that we have to move forward,” the European source said on condition of anonymity, while adding that there continue to be ” blockades.” According to the source, the EU wants to wait to see how the regional elections in Venezuela play out next Sunday, October 15. Read more

EU Parliament Sakharov Prize 2017: finalists revealed

Octubre 11, 2017

Following a vote by Foreign Affairs and Development Committees MEPs, the finalists for this year’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought are:

·         Aura Lolita Chavez Ixcaquic, a human rights defender from Guatemala. She is a member from the Council of Ki’che’ Peoples (CPK), an organisation that fights to protect natural resources and human rights from the expansion of mining, logging, hydroelectric and agro-industry sectors in the territory and has been subject to threats.

·         Democratic Opposition in Venezuela: National Assembly speaker (Julio Borges) and all political prisoners as listed by Foro Penal Venezolano represented by Leopoldo López, Antonio Ledezma, Daniel Ceballos, Yon Goicoechea, Lorent Saleh, Alfredo Ramos and Andrea González. The situation in Venezuela has been seriously deteriorating as regards democracy, human rights and socio-economy, in a climate of growing political and social instability. Political prisoners in Venezuela as well as the democratic opposition in Venezuela were also shortlisted for the Sakharov Prize in 2015. Read more

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