We thank the Fact Finding Mission (FFM) for the oral update and express the EU’s full support for your work and mandate.
The human rights situation in Venezuela continues to be of deep concern to us. The increased harassment of human rights defenders, independent media and humanitarian actors, the continued use of excessive force and arbitrary arrests, as well as the deteriorating detention conditions speak to a complete disregard for human rights and highlight the further erosion of democracy and the rule of law in the country.
The prevailing impunity for past and ongoing violations and abuses is unacceptable. Those responsible for extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions and torture must be held accountable and further violations prevented. We condemn any type of intimidation, harassment or persecution of those that report and denounce such violations.
In response to the continuing deterioration of democracy, the rule of law and human rights in Venezuela, as documented inter alia by the FFM, the EU has imposed additional restrictive measures against 19 leading Venezuelan officials on 22 February 2021. The individuals added to the list are responsible, notably, for undermining the oppositions’ electoral rights and the democratic functioning of the National Assembly, and for serious violations of human rights. These targeted measures are designed not to have adverse humanitarian effects or unintended consequences for the Venezuelan population and can be reversed. They are an indication of EU’s strong commitment to address human rights violations and to bring about change in policy or activity of those targeted.
The EU subsequently repeats its calls for the guarantee of all human rights, including civil and political rights, for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners and for the freedom and safety of all political opponents, in particular representatives of the opposition parties elected to the National Assembly in 2015.
We will continue to engage and work with all stakeholders in Venezuela to foster peaceful dialogue and a democratic and sustainable solution to the crises in Venezuela. We stress that human rights are a central part of the solution and that the recommendations you made should be implemented. There can be no way out of the political crisis in Venezuela if its citizens fear arrest and persecution, including of their families, simply for exercising their rights.
The EU is appreciative of the investigative work that the FFM is conducting, notwithstanding the lack of cooperation by the authorities. Could you elaborate on how the liquidity crisis has impacted operations and if it will impact the reporting in September?