Jun. 24, 2016 | Press Releases

OAS: HRF Welcomes Long-Overdue Session Assessing Venezuela’s Democratic Erosion

NEW YORK (June 23, 2016) — Human Rights Foundation (HRF) welcomes today’s special session by the Organization of American States’ (OAS) Permanent Council invoking the 2001 Inter-American Democratic Charter’s (IADC) democracy clause and undertaking a collective assessment about the erosion of democracy in Venezuela. During his opening remarks, Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the OAS, lamented: “The people of Venezuela are faced with a government that is no longer accountable to them. A government that no longer protects the rights of its citizens. A government that is no longer democratic.” He later urged member states to be “on the right side of history” and take a stand against “political prisoners [,] the persistent reports of torture, [and] support the will of the Venezuela public in their call for a recall referendum.” Before today’s session, Almagro met and gave his support to members of the democratic opposition in Venezuela.

OAS: HRF Welcomes Long-Overdue Session Assessing Venezuela’s Democratic Erosion

“Thanks to Almagro’s moral courage and diplomatic efforts, today’s session marks a modest victory for millions of Venezuelans who — after decades of immoral silence by almost every single member state at the OAS — now see many democratic governments in Latin America, both from the left and right, call out Chavismo for its antidemocratic measures,” said Thor Halvorssen, president of HRF. “Incidentally, the session exposed which states in the Americas support democracy and which others, unfortunately, are completely oblivious to human suffering. HRF will follow every effort made by the Secretary General in order to prompt the normalization of democratic governance in Venezuela,” concluded Halvorssen.

Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a focus on closed societies. HRF’s International Council includes human rights advocates Garry Kasparov, George Ayittey, Palden Gyatso, Mutabar Tadjibaeva, and Elie Wiesel.

Contact: Noemi Gonzalo-Bilbao, (212) 246-8486, noemi@hrf.org