Mérida, Venezuela (28/08/2018). — The most recent report by the Observatory of Human Rights of the University of Los Andes (ODH–ULA) found that, in Venezuela, the right to political participation has being violated since 1999, when a Constituent Assembly was convened without equal participation from all sectors of the country.
The executive power intervention on the judiciary, public, direct threats against dissidents, the unlawful, limitless use of power of the State to control other government branches, the confection of discriminatory lists such as Lista Tascón that limit citizen participation, are some of the cases that evidence the violation of political rights, which are inherent to human dignity and serve as basis for the exercise of other human rights.
The absence of electoral guarantees, electoral opportunism, manipulation and reordination of electoral constituencies for the purpose of obtaining, with fewer votes, more members in the National Assembly, usurpation of powers and competences of elected officials, and attacks against human rights defenders also comprise the list of violations of the right to political participation, which not only ensures the right to vote and to be elected, but the right to participate in all spheres of public life, such as politics, economy, society, labor, culture, education, among others.
In this regard, the Inter–American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) affirmed that “political participation and political rights are not guaranteed simply by the observance of the right to vote or the possibility of exercising the right to vote or to stand for election; instead, they necessarily involve a series of other rights and guarantees to ensure that the democratic process is fully functional.”
The ODH–ULA stresses that, in order to achieve full and equal participation of citizens in State affairs, it is essential the unrestricted enjoyment of the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of association, protest, and other political rights. Likewise, it is also necessary independence and genuine independence of the judiciary and other branches of the government; in short, the real and effective rule of law.
In Venezuela, by means of unconstitutional laws and abuse of authority, the right to political participation has been progressively violated when popular-elected officials from opposition groups are discredited, “protectors” are unlawfully appointed, political opponents are disqualified from running for office by administrative means and without being convicted by a court, political participation is criminally persecuted by courts and the Supreme Tribunal of Justice.
Facing these violations of human rights, the ODH–ULA recommends the Venezuelan State to comply with the constitutional provision on citizen participation provided in Article 62, Article 23 of the American Convention on Human, and Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights concerning rights to participation, autonomy and independence of judicial, legislative and electoral branches of the State.
Likewise, the Observatory urges to respect the autonomy of municipalities and federal governments, the activities of human rights defenders, as well as the decisions made by the IACHR and other human rights international bodies.
The full report is available for download here. / Press ODH–ULA