Enforced Disappearances in Venezuela: In the Midst of Elections

According to UN experts, the number of enforced disappearances in Venezuela has increased in recent months.

Enforced disappearances in Venezuela are a cause for concern, especially in the midst of the presidential campaign.

Next July 28th will be the presidential elections in Venezuela, and the government of Nicolás Maduro is accused of persecution.

United Nations (UN) experts Aua Baldé, Gabriella Citroni, Angkhana Neelapaijit, Grażyna Baranowska and Ana Lorena Delgadillo Pérez – members of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances – warned of the “alarming increase” of enforced disappearances in Venezuela before the presidential elections next July 28.

For the experts, the forced disappearances in Venezuela are related to people connected to political parties and associations.

“Since December 2023, there has been an alarming increase in forced disappearances affecting citizens exercising their right to freedom of expression, association and participation in matters of public interest”, said the UN experts, while stressing that most of the people forcibly disappeared are members of the main opposition political party and members of the military.

Enforced Disappearances in Venezuela: In the Midst of Elections

As the country prepares for presidential elections in July 2024, these disappearances in Venezuela could have a deterrent effect and hinder the right of the population to vote freely.

They then indicated that depriving a person of their liberty, followed by a refusal to acknowledge their detention or concealing their fate or whereabouts, places them outside the protection of the law.

“This constitutes an enforced disappearance, regardless of the duration of such deprivation of liberty or concealment,” the experts of the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances stated.

But, in addition, on forced disappearances in Venezuela, they described, among them, the right to recognition as a person before the law, the right to liberty and security, and the right not to be subjected to acts of torture.

Finally, the experts urged the Venezuelan regime “to prevent, eradicate and prosecute all acts of enforced disappearance; to provide information on the fate and whereabouts of persons currently detained incommunicado by the State; and to provide them with all legal guarantees, including the right to communicate with and receive visits from their families, access to legal counsel of their choice, and the right to appear before a competent court to determine the legality of their detention.”

The Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances indicated that it is in contact with the authorities in this regard and has expressed to the regime its readiness to provide cooperation and technical assistance, with a view to ensuring that the human rights of persons deprived of their liberty and their relatives are respected, and that any cases of enforced disappearance are investigated in accordance with international law.

Undoubtedly, enforced disappearances in Venezuela are a tool to sow fear.

Opposition leader María Corina Machado demanded this Monday the release of the head of her party Vente Venezuela, Henry Alviárez; and of the political secretary, former deputy Dignora Hernández, on the 40th day of their detention, while denouncing that neither their relatives nor their lawyers have been able to see them.

On Sunday, April 28, 2024, several Venezuelan opposition leaders denounced the arbitrary detention of three political activists from the state of Portuguesa, where Machado carried out a multitudinous activity last Friday in view of the presidential elections.

Those arrested were Ámbar Márquez, Víctor Castillo and Óscar Castañeda, members of the presidential campaign command of the anti-Chávez alliance.


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