We did it! On 7 October 2022, the Human Rights Council renewed the vital mandate of the Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) on Venezuela and the reporting mandate of OHCHR for another two years, with 19 votes in favour, 5 votes against and 23 abstentions.
States at the UN Human Rights Council have voted to renew the mandate of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission for Venezuela (FFM) for another two years, ensuring the continuation of a mechanism that has become central to the work of human rights defenders. It has also extended the mandate of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to report to the Council.
In Venezuela it is government policy to torture dissents, the UN mission of experts on Venezuela told the world two years ago. These violations, amounting to likely crimes against humanity, continue. In their latest report the experts dive deeper into the nature of the crimes, who the victims are and names perpetrators. This morning this report goes before the Human Rights Council.
In 2019, a group of largely Latin American states led a successful bid for the United Nations to establish an independent investigative mechanism on Venezuela in response to the human rights crisis in the country. During these years, the Mission has been a key mechanism in a system of complementary international bodies providing a vision of the change needed to eradicate impunity and prevent further systemic human rights violations. Now, a few weeks off the expiration of the Mission’s mandate, States in the region must again take leadership of a process to ensure its preventative work continues in particular with the uncertainty of a Presidential electoral period looming.
Over 125 Venezuelean and international organisations expressed their concern about the continuing human rights violations in Venezuela and called on the UN Human Rights Council to renew the Fact Finding Mission (FFM) on Venezuela at its upcoming September session.
The UN must continue its multi-pronged approach on Venezuela, civil society organisations and States urged during a week that saw a review of the implementation of recommendations made by the High Commissioner for Human Rights to Venezuela and the adoption of the Universal Periodic Review's Third Cycle report on the country.
Civil society groups are united in rejecting the bill that seeks to limit NGOs’ ability to access resources including foreign funding.
Past and ongoing human rights violations in Venezuela were back on the Council’s agenda this session, with States detailing levels of impunity and continuing abuses that far outweigh the small signs of progress made.
Prosecutors and judges in Venezuela are not only failing to investigate violations against real and perceived opponents of the Venezuelan State but are actively participating in violations against them. This is the conclusion of the UN fact-finding mission on Venezuela in its second report to the Human Rights Council.
With three more human rights defenders detained arbitrarily in recent days, once again the Human Rights Council was asked to do more to put pressure on Venezuela to allow dissenting voices in the country to be heard. Independent civil society makes a critical contribution to the construction of societies built on the respect of human rights.
In order for the international human rights system to function to its fullest potential, human rights defenders must be able to share crucial information and perspectives, safely and unhindered. However, many defenders still face unacceptable risks and are unable to cooperate safely with the UN.
Defenders in Venezuela promote justice, equality and accountability. Without their work being safeguarded and enabled, the victims of violations are made yet more vulnerable. During three different dialogues on Venezuela, members of the Council repeatedly called for civil society and civic space to be protected.