HRW asks Colombia to denounce human rights abuses in Venezuela

BOGOTÁ (HPD) — The human rights organization Human Rights Watch asked Colombian President Gustavo Petro on Monday not to remain silent in the face of “human rights violations and the humanitarian crisis” in Venezuela, now that diplomatic and commercial relations with that country have been reestablished. country.

The organization argues that the renewed relationship between Colombia and Venezuela could be an opportunity to obtain concrete commitments on human rights from the Venezuelan authorities, such as the release of people “arbitrarily detained” or the endorsement so that international observers can visit detainees.

HRW was expelled from Venezuela in 2008 after denouncing that in the government of the late Hugo Chávez, democracy had eroded and the judiciary was not independent.

The public letter signed from Washington by Juanita Goebertus, the director for the Americas of HRW, highlights as a positive step that Petro asked Maduro to re-ratify the American Convention on Human Rights, but regrets that the possibility of withdrawing the referral from Colombia to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on the situation in Venezuela.

The relationship between the two countries took a turn after Petro came to power in August, as the first left-wing president in his country’s history. Petro and Maduro began the thaw of relations after three years of breakage, after a political change in which Colombia recognizes the Maduro government as legitimate and not the opposition leader Juan Guaidó.

In this new scenario, Maduro regained an important role by accepting that Venezuela was a guarantor country in the peace negotiation. that was resumed between the Colombian government and the National Liberation Army (ELN), considered the last active guerrilla in the country.

HRW reminded Petro that recent investigations found that members of the Venezuelan security forces have allegedly carried out joint operations with the ELN.. The Maduro government has repeatedly denied any complicity or support for the guerrillas.

“Any security policy will face immense challenges if the armed groups in Colombia can use Venezuela as a strategic rearguard and act with the collaboration or acquiescence of the Venezuelan security forces,” the letter warns.

The human rights organization also asks Petro to consider coordinating strategies to prevent human trafficking and assist the victims of this phenomenon that occurs on the extensive 2,200-kilometer border between Colombia and Venezuela, where there is also a passage of smuggling and drug trafficking.

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