News / Americas

Rights Group: Venezuela Violated Rights of Protesters

FILE - Demonstrators hold up posters with images of Venezuelans who were killed in the past two weeks during the recent unrest, at a rally with human rights activists in Caracas, Venezuela, Feb. 28, 2014.
FILE - Demonstrators hold up posters with images of Venezuelans who were killed in the past two weeks during the recent unrest, at a rally with human rights activists in Caracas, Venezuela, Feb. 28, 2014.
Reuters
Venezuela has violated the rights of opposition protesters through beatings, illegal detentions and failure to follow due process, Human Rights Watch said in a report released on Monday.
 
The report, entitled “Punished for Protesting,” said troops used excessive force against peaceful protesters, and that state prosecutors and judges tolerated or participated in the abuses.
 
The report was based on research in March on 45 cases of “serious human rights violations.”  The group interviewed more than 90 people, including victims and their families, and more than a dozen lawyers who provided legal counsel.
 
“In most of the cases we documented, security forces employed unlawful force, including shooting and severely beating unarmed individuals,” the report said. “Nearly all of the victims were also arrested and, while in detention, subjected to physical and psychological abuse.”
 
The New York-based group alleged 10 torture cases, with incidents of electric shocks, burns and threats of rape or execution.
 
At least 41 people have died, including both government and opposition supporters plus security force members, since protests began in early February, according to official figures.
 
Nearly 800 people have been injured and 197 of the more than 2,000 people arrested remain in jail.
 
President Nicolas Maduro has acknowledged some abuses by security officials, but hotly denies accusations of a systematic campaign of human rights violations. He says Venezuela's security forces were transformed when his predecessor Hugo Chavez took power in 1998.
 
State prosecutors have opened 142 investigations of human rights abuses, including one for torture, and detained 17 officials in connection with excessive violence.
 
Officials, including Interior Minister Miguel Rodriguez, have called the criticism by human rights groups part of a plan to destabilize the country.
 
Venezuela's socialist administration has sparred with Human Rights Watch in the past, calling it a pawn of Washington. The group has dismissed such criticism as baseless.
 
Protesters wielding rocks and petrol bombs for months barricaded streets and clashed with police who responded with water-cannons and volleys of tear gas.
 
Others have staged peaceful protests, including rallies that have at times been targeted by security forces. Pro-government armed gangs have detained or beaten protesters with the tacit approval of state officials, Human Rights Watch said.
 
The demonstrations began in protest against crime, inflation and product shortages. Accusations of police abuse during the unrest quickly became another motivation for the protests, which have nevertheless waned in recent weeks.
 
Maduro appears to have weathered the worst and shows no sign of stepping down or being pushed from office.

You May Like

WHO: Anti-Ebola Efforts Should Focus on West Africa

Official says WHO is 'reasonably confident' countries bordering those hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak are not seeing the virus crossing their borders More

South Sudan Crisis Threatens Development

Economic costs and lost development opportunities in South Sudan have erased what little progress the country has made since independence in 2011 More

Ukraine PM Warns Russia May Try to Disrupt Sunday Poll

Arseniy Yatsenyuk orders full security mobilization for parliamentary election to prevent ‘terrorist acts’ from being carried out More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Multimedia Canada Capital Tense as Parliament Reopens

PM Harper says Wednesday's shooting, along with another incident this week that led to a soldier's death, are grim reminders that Canada is not immune to terrorism
More

Video US Political Parties Face Challenge Motivating Hispanics

As November 4 midterm elections loom, Latino activists, who are mostly Democrats, say they are disappointed and angry with president over immigration reform
More

Multimedia Canadian Prime Minister Speaks After Shots Fired in Parliament

Stephen Harper said Wednesday's attack, along with another incident this week that led to a soldier's death, are grim reminders that Canada is not immune to terrorism
More

Head of Mexican Cartel Appears in US Court

Juan Francisco Saenz-Tamez was arrested by US federal agents while shopping in Texas
More

Egypt Sets Appeal Date for Al Jazeera Journalists

Journalists were convicted in July on charges of aiding terrorist organization in verdict condemned internationally
More

Canadian Soldier Dies in Car Attack Linked to Radical Islam

Police shoot and kill driver - suspected Islamic radical - after he rammed into two soldiers Monday in parking lot in Quebec province
More