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Human Rights in Venezuela at Risk under Maduro’s Emergency Powers

By: Sabrina Martín - @SabrinaMartinR - May 16, 2016, 12:12 pm

Estado de Excepcion - Maduro Amnesty International: “With this state of exception, Venezuela is risking its human rights.” (HoyenNoticias)

EspañolHuman rights are at risk in Venezuela, Amnesty International has said, especially now that President Nicolás Maduro has renewed a state of emergency as of May 13, as well as instituted a state of exception.

“The catalogue of human rights abuses that have occurred in the context of operational security and public order during states of emergency in Venezuela have set an alarming precedent,” said Marcos Gómez, Executive Director of Venezuela’s Amnesty International.

Gómez warned that the state of emergency should not be used to carry out arbitrary arrests, and even less for repressing peaceful demonstrations that make up an essential right of freedom of expression.

“The Venezuelan government must remember that the concept of a state of emergency and exception does not mean repealing or suspending national or international law, and that security forces and officials are still responsible for their actions,” Gómez said.

The night of May 13, the Maduro announced the state of exception to meet alleged threats of a coup d’Etat and “foreign military intervention.” This despite no reported evidence of such threats.

The Venezuelan constitution, however, does establish the measures taken by Maduro, permitting the restriction of some gaurentees. But it must also comply with certain requirements and rights of the International Pact on Civil and Political Rights at the American Convention on Human Rights.

Maduro incarcerates businessmen responsible for stalling businesses

The Venezuelan president said that part of the state of exception will allow the government to apprehend business owners whose factories have stopped production, claiming that halts were evidence of plans to “paralyze the country.”

“Within the framework of the existing decree…we take all actions to recover the productive means that is being paralyzed by the bourgeoisie … and who want to sabotage the country that could be,” Maduro said Saturday, May 14.

The president also announced his decision to begin military exercises to prepare for “whatever scenario” may occur related to foreign intervention.

Maduro said the state of exception will last through July, in order to “recuperate the productive capacity” of the country.
Sabrina Martín Sabrina Martín

Sabrina Martín is a Venezuelan journalist, commentator, and editor based in Valencia with experience in corporate communication. Follow @SabrinaMartinR.