Resolving the Venezuelan Crisis
Held in conjunction with the Lima Group Meeting of Hemispheric Foreign Ministers on the Situation in Venezuela, the RWCHR brought together leading Venezuelan dissidents and activists to sound the alarm on the Human Rights Crisis, and help chart a path forward.
Speakers included Tamara Suju, leading Venezuelan lawyer for political prisoners and victims of torture; Lilian Tintori, human rights activist and wife of imprisoned Venezuelan democratic Opposition Leader Leopoldo Lopez, and Antonieta Ledezma, wife of then-imprisoned Mayor of Caracas Antonio Ledezma. Panelists gave voice to the plight and pain of the people of Venezuela and the depth of human suffering amidst the political and humanitarian crisis.
Speakers highlighted that 82% of Venezuelans live in poverty - without access to food or medicine - while the country experiences skyrocketing inflation. Political opposition is brutally silenced – with close to 400 political prisoners – and peaceful protestors face state-sanctioned violence and torture.
Indeed, panelists testified to the mass domestic repression perpetrated by the Maduro Regime, the whole underpinned by cultures of corruption and impunity.
A path forward was suggested by speakers, which included humanitarian aid, support for civil society groups, regionally imposed targeted economic sanctions and travel bans, and the pursuit of international justice and accountability for perpetrators.
Following this gathering, the Lima Group issued a Declarationoutlining its support for the Venezuelan people and actions to be taken in that regard, and Canada later adopted targeted sanctions against Venezuelan perpetrators under the recently passed Global Magnitsky legislation.
Concluding the Lima Group activities, Chair Irwin Cotler engaged in a high-level public discussion on the situation with Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland. Watch their conversation below.