The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights concluded its 77th Ordinary Session held in Arusha, United Republic of Tanzania from 20 October to 9 November 2023. During the session, the Commission renewed its Bureau. It received solemn declarations from elected and re-elected members and launched several documents and newsletters, among others.
Venezuelan civil society collective Justicia y Verdad today launched their new report, ‘Without the implementation of recommendations there can be no justice’, an analysis of the roadmap for reform provided by UN recommendations on the judicial system, the failures of the State to take action and the impact of that inaction on the fight of victims for justice.
Members of Justicia y Verdad spoke at the launch of how weakening the judicial system – including in regard to the independence of judges – was a State policy that had resulted in a deep crisis. UN recommendations, they said, provide a roadmap to necessary structural and systemic reform, and a ‘common language’ which should be at the heart of any diplomatic effort to engage with Venezuelan authorities.
Cristina Ciordia from the Centro de Justicia y Paz (CEPAZ) noted that the report was a mean to establish a baseline of implementation from which any Venezuelan government could be judged. The report is a tool to re-energise efforts to push for necessary human rights reforms at a time, she noted, that ‘the international community’s mobilisation seems to be running out of steam’.
Faisal Yamil, also of Cepaz, emphasised that without reform of the judicial system, there was no means to address the serious human rights violations in the country. He particularly emphasised violations against women which, he said, continue to represent ‘an important gap to be covered’.
In her intervention, Martha Tineo, of the NGO Justicia, Encuentro y Perdón, also spoke of how the lack of reform of the judicial system made it impossible to tackle the human rights crisis in the country or meet the needs of victims. She emphasised how victims are left without means to redress. She also highlighted the complicity of the Venezuelan authorities in criminalising dissidents, noting that impunity remained at 90% in regard to attacks against them.
Finally, Ali Daniels, of ‘Acceso a la Justicia’ homed in on the conclusions of the report and why they were important. He stated that the Venezuelan government is part of the repressive apparatus and that justice is instrumentalised and defective. ‘We are facing a structural problem. We need autonomous and independent judicial bodies’, he said.
The Interactive Dialogue with High Commissioner on the situation of human rights in Venezuela will take place on 5 July at 3 pm. The report is now available on the website of the Human Rights Council. The session will include a dialogue with governments and civil society organisations.Download as PDF
In its statement before the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, ISHR denounced the adoption of restrictive civic space laws and requested the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders and Focal Point on Reprisals (‘the Special Rapporteur’) to release his first reprisals report.
ISHR has joined dozens of national, regional and international NGOs expressing concern at the attempts of the government to restrict the right to protest of Guatemalan human rights defenders.