We – concerned citizens of the world – are deeply worried by the Venezuelan government’s recent denunciation of the American Convention on Human Rights (ACHR) and its planned future withdrawal from the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. We feel that this denunciation is offensive to all those victims of human rights abuses in Venezuela who will have fewer avenues through which to raise their claims, and that this rejection does not represent the will of the Venezuelan people.
The ACHR is the basis for the strongest human rights system in the Americas, in part because the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has proven sufficiently independent in standing up to member-states, working faithfully to interpret the ACHR in its judgements. The Venezuelan Governments recent rebuttal of these rights instruments is politically motivated and a response to the Inter-American Courts decisions. They have had no other objective than holding the Government of Venezuela accountable for violations of human rights, whose victims have not found an independent and impartial judiciary in Venezuela.
We feel that it is imperative for the protection of human rights globally that Venezuela should remain a part of these human rights bodies and that by doing so Venezuela sets a good precedent to other states in the region, particularly at a time when Venezuela’s membership of MERCOSUR is being analysed by member States which, as part of this sub-regional group, have ratified their commitment to strengthen and respect the Inter-American System of Human Rights.
Together, we stress that human rights systems around the world sit above the political agendas of the day and that withdrawal from the Inter-American System will also constitute a violation of Venezuela’s own constitution. This is not a path to be followed! Strong regional mechanisms play a key role in reinforcing the international human rights system and provide an external check and balance on the vital separation of powers between government and judiciary by allowing citizens regionally, as well as Venezuelans, the right to take their claim to justice and protection to the Inter-American Commission for referral and then adjudication at the Court.
We urge the Venezuelan Government to reverse its denunciation of the American Convention on Human Rights, and to stand strong internationally as a human rights leader, not as a human rights abuser.
We stand for justice and dignity for every person throughout the world.
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