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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

US Judge Holds Argentina in Contempt Over Bond Payment Plan

In rare move, District Judge Thomas Griesa says country taking 'illegal' steps to evade his orders in longstanding dispute with hedge funds over defaulted debt
More

Brazil's Rousseff Extends Lead Over Silva in Elections

President Dilma Rousseff's expected victory margin over closest rival Marina Silva has surged to 9 percentage points
More

8 Killed in Peru Quake

The victims of the 4.9-magnitude tremor were all from the mountainous community of Misca, where many homes collapsed in the quake
More

S. Africa Gives Cuba $31 Million Economic Aid

South African President Jacob Zuma pledged the money to Cuba in 2010, but its implementation was delayed for several years
More

At UN, Indigenous Forest Peoples Express Folk Spirituality, 'Green' Values'

Over 1,000 delegates were invited to a UN conference to share perspectives on 'best practices' to ensure indigenous rights worldwide.
More

Venezuela Suffers Another Blackout

South American OPEC member nation seeing increasing power cuts in recent years, labeled as evidence of mismanagement by the socialist authorities
More