(Mérida 29/10/2019) – Representatives of more than 20 institutions and organizations from different sectors of Venezuelan society participated in a meeting held in Caracas on October 24th, which was organized by the Observatory of Human Rights of the University of Los Andes (ODH-ULA, by its acronym in Spanish). The main objective of this activity was to recommend proposals with a human rights focus aimed at the recovery of the country in the areas most affected by the Complex Humanitarian Emergency in Venezuela.
The facilities of the International Center for Professional Update of the Catholic University Andrés Bello of Caracas were the space where the participants of this meeting lectured on the main problems affecting education, food, health, justice, indigenous peoples, women and girls, disabled people, LGBTIQ+ people and the environment in the framework of the Complex Humanitarian Emergency. Subsequently, some of the attendees presented proposals from their areas to overcome the crisis and move towards the recovery of democracy and institutionality in the country.
Mario Bonucci Rosini, rector of the University of Los Andes (ULA), was commissioned to initiate the meeting in which 12 representatives of five universities and human rights organizations presented their proposals from their areas of performance.
Diagnosis and proposals with a focus on human rights
The education sector was represented by Amalio Belmonte, secretary of the Central University of Venezuela (UCV, by its acronym in Spanish), David Gómez, director of Aula Abierta, who is also a member of the Human Rights Commission of the University of Zulia (LUZ, by its acronym in Spanish), and Juan Barreto, director of the Human Rights Center of the UCV. All agreed on the need to enact a new Law on Universities and recover the full autonomy of the universities from the parallel university system created by the regime for ideological and partisan purposes.
The proposals for the defense of women’s rights were put forward by Luisa Kislinger, director of the Women Online Civil Association, and Isolda de Salvatierra, president of the Venezuelan Observatory for Women’s Human Rights. Both pointed out, among other things, the need to regulate the Organic Law on the right of women to a life free of violence.
Katherine Martínez, director of the NGO Prepara Familia, together with Susana Raffalli, Humanitarian Response Advisor to Caritas Venezuela, raised the main needs of children in Venezuela, especially in terms of health, food and nutrition. The statistics and cases presented by the speakers show the violation of these rights of Venezuelan children by the State. They emphasized that it is a priority to define actions that allow for the attention and recovery of children in the face of current political challenges.
During the meeting, there was also space to put forward proposals in defense of the most vulnerable communities and those least served by the State, as well as the environment. Juan Berrios, documentation coordinator of the Human Rights Commission of the State of Zulia (Codhez); José David González, coordinator of the Human Rights Committee of the Guajira; Keyla Sánchez, representing the Deaf Confederation of Venezuela (Consorven) and Alejandro Álvarez, coordinator of the Climate 21 Coalition, were the exponents of the main needs of these sectors and how to attend them adequately.
The Importance of Transitional Justice
Finally, Ali Daniels, director of Acceso a la Justicia, and José Vicente Haro, professor at the UCV and president of the Venezuelan Association of Constitutional Law, explained the basic concepts, processes and scope of transitional justice. Both insisted on the need to compensate victims of human rights violations and avoid impunity.
This meeting made it possible to carry out a diagnosis of the human rights situation in Venezuela and to generate proposals that allow the development of public policies through synergy work between a democratic and legitimate government, State institutions and civil society organizations. The proposals put forward at this meeting will soon be compiled into a document that will serve as a basis for defining actions for the country’s recovery.