Long-standing efforts since 2013 to send a delegation of MPs to Venezuela have so far failed in the absence of clear authorization and cooperation from the country’s authorities.
Following the ongoing repression of opposition MPs by the Venezuelan government, the need for a fact-finding mission by the IPU’s Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians has become urgent. The recent detention of Juan Requesens and the arrest warrant issued against Julio Borges, both elected MPs of the National Assembly of Venezuela and outspoken critics of President Maduro, have been widely condemned by the parliamentary community.
It appears that the process to strip the parliamentarians of their immunity does not comply with the Venezuela constitution and laws which, in turn, suggests that it may be politically motivated. Parliamentary immunity is an essential human right for MPs to ensure that they can freely fulfil their mandate without fear of retaliation.
The IPU has denounced on several occasions the continued repression of opposition members and efforts to undermine the opposition-controlled National Assembly.
The IPU urges the Venezuelan authorities to guarantee the human rights of Juan Requesens and Julio Borges, including their rights to a fair trial and to freedom of expression. It also warns the relevant authorities against any further action to prevent the National Assembly and its members from carrying out their constitutional duties.
IPU President, Gabriela Cuevas, said “We urge the Venezuelan authorities to respect human rights, namely the rights to due process and freedom of expression, regardless of political affiliations.”
The IPU’s Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians seeks to protect and defend MPs under threat. It is currently working on over 550 cases worldwide of which 57 concern Venezuelan opposition MPs.
The IPU calls for political dialogue to preserve the integrity of the democratically-elected National Assembly. Following its usual practice of bringing all sides around the table, the IPU will also insist that both government and opposition MPs are part of the Venezuelan delegation for the 139th IPU Assembly that takes place from 14-18 October 2018 in Geneva.