United Nations A/hrc/WG. 6/12/ven/2



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United Nations

A/HRC/WG.6/12/VEN/2



General Assembly

Distr.: General

25 July 2011


Original: English/Spanish
Human Rights Council

Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review

Twelfth session

Geneva, 3–14 October 2011



Compilation prepared by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in accordance with paragraph 15 (b) of the annex to Human Rights Council resolution 5/1

Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)




The present report is a compilation of the information contained in the reports of treaty bodies, special procedures, including observations and comments by the State concerned, and other relevant official United Nations documents. It does not contain any opinions, views or suggestions on the part of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), other than those contained in public reports issued by OHCHR. It follows the structure of the general guidelines adopted by the Human Rights Council. Information included herein has been systematically referenced in endnotes. The report has been prepared taking into consideration the four-year periodicity of the first cycle of the review. In the absence of recent information, the latest available reports and documents have been taken into consideration, unless they are outdated. Since this report only compiles information contained in official United Nations documents, lack of information or focus on specific issues may be due to non-ratification of a treaty and/or to a low level of interaction or cooperation with international human rights mechanisms.





I. Background and framework

A. Scope of international obligations1

Universal human rights treaties2

Date of ratification, accession or succession

Declarations/reservations

Recognition of specific competences of treaty bodies

ICERD

10 Oct. 1967

None

Individual complaints (art. 14): Yes

ICESCR

10 May 1978

None



ICCPR

10 May 1978

Reservation (art. 14)

Inter-State complaints (art. 41): No

ICCPR-OP 1

10 May 1978

Same reservation as in ICCPR.



ICCPR-OP 2

22 Feb. 1993

None



CEDAW

2 May 1983

Reservation (art. 29)



OP-CEDAW

13 May 2002

None

Inquiry procedure (arts. 8 and 9): Yes

CAT

29 July 1991

None

Inter-State complaints (art. 21): Yes

Individual complaints (art. 22): Yes

Inquiry procedure (art. 20): Yes


CRC

13 Sept. 1990

Declaration (art. 21, 30)



OP-CRC-AC

23 Sept. 2003

Binding declaration under art. 3: 18 years



OP-CRC-SC

8 May 2002

None



Treaties to which Venezuela is not a party: OP-ICESCR,3 OP-CAT (signature only, 2011), ICRMW, CRPD, OP-CRPD and CED (signature only, 2007).




Other main relevant international instruments

Ratification, accession or succession

Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide

Yes

Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

Yes

Palermo Protocol4

Yes

Refugees and stateless persons5

No. Only 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees.

Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and Additional Protocols thereto6

Yes, except Additional Protocol III

ILO fundamental conventions7

Yes

UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education

Yes

1. The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD),8 in 2005, and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW),9 in 2006, encouraged the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to consider ratifying ICRMW.

2. En 2011, el Sistema de las Naciones Unidas en la República Bolivariana de Venezuela (SNU) informó que Venezuela no era parte en el Protocolo Facultativo de la Convención contra la Tortura y otros Tratos o Penas Crueles, Inhumanos o Degradantes.10

3. The Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), in 2007, recommended that Venezuela ratify CRPD and its Optional Protocol.11

4. In 2001, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) encouraged Venezuela to ratify the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, the Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, and the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.12

B. Constitutional and legislative framework

5. CEDAW welcomed the adoption of the 1999 Constitution, which used non-sexist language, established the equality of rights between women and men in all spheres of life, and included specific provisions that protect the human rights of women.13

6. CERD welcomed the rights and principles contained in the Constitution, which established the multi-ethnic and multicultural nature of Venezuelan society and guaranteed the rights of indigenous peoples.14

7. Once años después de su visita a Venezuela, el Relator Especial sobre la cuestión de la tortura y otros tratos o penas crueles, inhumanos o degradantes se mostró complacido, en 2008, por los progresos en la legislación para la protección de los derechos humanos y, en particular, para la prevención y la represión de actos de tortura.15 El Relator Especial lamentó que aún no se hubiera tipificado a la tortura como delito específico en la legislación venezolana conforme a la definición prevista en el artículo 1 de la Convención contra la Tortura.16



C. Institutional and human rights infrastructure

8. The Defensoría del Pueblo of Venezuela was accredited with “A” status by the International Coordinating Committee of National Human Rights Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in 2002, which was reconfirmed in 2008.17 In 2007, CRC recommended that Venezuela ensure the independence of the Defensoría del Pueblo in line with the Paris Principles.18

9. In 2007, CRC noted that Venezuela had established a Special Directorate for Children’s and Adolescents’ Rights in the Defensoría del Pueblo, but regretted its lack of presence across the country.19

10. CERD noted the establishment of specialized institutions to combat racial discrimination.20



D. Policy measures

11. El SNU informó que no existía un plan nacional de derechos humanos tal como lo establecía la Conferencia Mundial de Derechos Humanos de 199321 y que aún existían brechas que superar para que las políticas públicas incorporaran plenamente la perspectiva de derechos humanos.22

12. El SNU indicó que el país había cumplido los Objetivos de Desarrollo del Milenio relativos a reducción de la pobreza extrema y acceso al agua potable y los sistemas de saneamiento, y que se estarían por alcanzar las metas relativas a educación primaria universal, equidad de género en el acceso a la educación y reducción de la mortalidad infantil.23

13. El SNU manifestó que se habían realizado esfuerzos para mejorar los derechos económicos y la participación social y política de las mujeres. Destacó la creación de instituciones y de programas sociales como el Banco Nacional de la Mujer , la Misión Vuelvan Caras y Madres del Barrio.24 A pesar de estos avances, aún existía una brecha importante entre el marco político-legislativo y las condiciones necesarias para una adecuada implementación y evaluación de programas que garantizaran el ejercicio pleno de la ciudadanía de las mujeres.25 CEDAW appreciated the various measures aimed at the advancement of women to a position of equality with men.26

14. CRC encouraged Venezuela to elaborate a comprehensive national plan of action for children in consultation with civil society and all other sectors concerned. Such a plan should have effective mechanisms for monitoring and the necessary resources.27

15. El SNU expresó que la inseguridad continuaba siendo uno de los principales desafíos para el Estado y que se requería la elaboración de políticas en materia de seguridad ciudadana con un enfoque de derechos humanos. En este contexto, era importante el impulso que el Poder Ejecutivo estaba dando a la reforma policial.28



II. Promotion and protection of human rights on the ground

A. Cooperation with human rights mechanisms

1. Cooperation with treaty bodies

Treaty body29

Latest report submitted and considered

Latest concluding observations

Follow-up response

Reporting status

CERD

2004

August 2005

Overdue since 2006.

Combined nineteenth and twentieth report overdue since 2008.

CESCR

1998

April 2001



Third report overdue since 2006.

HR Committee

1998

April 2001

Responses received in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2007.

Fourth report overdue since 2005.

CEDAW

2004

January 2006



Seventh report overdue since 2008.

CAT

2000

November 2002



Fourth report overdue since 2004.

CRC

2006

September 2007



Third to fifth report overdue since April 2011.

OP-CRC-AC







Initial report overdue since 2005.

OP-CRC-SC







Initial report overdue since 2004.

16. CRC encouraged the speedy submission of the State’s overdue initial reports under both of the Optional Protocols to the Convention, if possible at the same time.30



2. Cooperation with special procedures

Standing invitation issued

No

Latest visits or mission reports



Visits agreed upon in principle

Special Rapporteur on the right to food (dates to be agreed).

Visits requested and not yet agreed upon

Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression (requested visit in 2003 and 2009), Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (requested visit in 2006 and 2008), Special Rapporteur (previously Special Representative of the Secretary-General) on the situation of human rights defenders (requested visit in 2007 and 2010).

Facilitation/cooperation during missions



Follow-up to visits



Responses to letters of allegations and urgent appeals

During the period under review, 30 communications were sent. The Government replied to 22 communications.

Responses to questionnaires on thematic issues

Venezuela responded to 7 of the 24 questionnaires sent by special procedures mandate holders.31

3. Cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

17. Venezuela is covered by the OHCHR Regional Office for South America (Santiago, Chile).32 OHCHR assisted Venezuela in initiating the process for the ratification of CRPD33 and provided training on the UPR to Government institutions, civil society and UNCT.34

18. Venezuela contributed financially to three humanitarian funds in 2004, 2006 and 2009, and to the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture and the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery in 2007.35

B. Implementation of international human rights obligations

1. Equality and non-discrimination

19. While noting the adoption of measures aimed at combating gender-role stereotypes, CEDAW was concerned about the persistence of stereotypical attitudes and patriarchal patterns of behaviour that undermined women’s human rights in respect of the roles and responsibilities of women and men in family and in society.36

20. CEDAW recommended that Venezuela distinguish between general social and economic policies and programmes which also benefited women, and temporary special measures which were necessary to accelerate the achievement of de facto equality for women.37

21. CRC welcomed the creation of the Network of Afro-descendant Organizations but noted that there was a lack of reliable statistics related to the situation of the Afro-descendant population. It also noted that there were discriminatory practices against children of Afro-descendants.38

22. CRC recommended that Venezuela: ensure that all children with disabilities receive education and encourage their inclusion in regular schools; undertake an in-depth study on the prevention of disabilities; and promote and expand community-based rehabilitation programmes, including parent support groups.39

23. El SNU manifestó que no existían normas ni políticas que protegieran a las personas lesbianas, gays, bisexuales, transexuales e intersexuales del rechazo, la discriminación y las violaciones de sus derechos humanos.40



2. Right to life, liberty and security of the person

24. El Relator Especial sobre la cuestión de la tortura expresó en 2008 su preocupación por presuntas muertes de niños bajo custodia policial y por alegaciones de ejecuciones extrajudiciales cometidas por agentes estatales bajo el fenómeno de “ajusticiamiento de delincuentes”. El Relator Especial lamentó la supuesta ausencia de investigaciones prontas e imparciales con relación a muchos de estos casos.41 CRC made similar observations.42

25. In 2011, the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations deplored the high number of assassinations of trade union leaders and members and expressed its concern at the fact that the number of alleged assassinations provided by trade union organizations differed considerably from those emerging from the information provided by the Government.43

26. El Relator Especial sobre la cuestión de la tortura también expresó su preocupación por presuntos casos de tortura por parte de las fuerzas de seguridad.44 CAT expressed similar concerns.45 The HR Committee was pursuing dialogue with Venezuela on a case of arbitrary detention and ill-treatment during detention.46

27. El SNU manifestó su preocupación por la situación de las personas privadas de libertad. A pesar del Plan de Humanización del Sistema Penitenciario (2004), existían altos niveles de retardo procesal que generalmente desencadenaban manifestaciones de los internos. Era imperativo diseñar una política penitenciaria y proveer los recursos necesarios.47

28. El Relator Especial sobre la cuestión de la tortura manifestó su preocupación por la presunta ausencia de criterios de separación y clasificación de las personas privadas de libertad, situación que se encontraría relacionada con el hacinamiento y las deficientes condiciones de los establecimientos carcelarios.48 En 2001, el Comité de Derechos Humanos manifestó preocupaciones similares49 y recibió comentarios del Gobierno.50 Asimismo, el Relator Especial llamó la atención, en 2010, sobre el aumento del 25% de muertes (352) y del 31% de lesiones (736) en las cárceles venezolanas en relación con las cifras de 2009. El Relator Especial añadió haber recibido información acerca de que en el Centro Penitenciario de la Región Centro-Occidental se organizarían riñas entre prisioneros en presencia de funcionarios encargados de hacer cumplir la ley en la cárcel.51

29. CRC noted programmes on violence against children but was concerned about allegations of ill-treatment, reported substandard conditions of prisons, and reports of children dying in custody.52

30. The HR Committee was concerned about the level of violence against women, and at the many allegations of rape or torture of women in custody by members of the security forces.53

31. CEDAW called upon Venezuela to ensure that perpetrators of violence against women were prosecuted and punished. It encouraged Venezuela to enhance effective access to legal aid for women from all regions, including indigenous women and women of African descent.54

32. CERD noted that in the centres of illegal gold prospecting in the upper Orinoco and the Casiquiare and Guainia-Río Negro basins there was evidence that indigenous children and adolescents were subjected to labour exploitation and the worst forms of child labour, including servitude and slavery, child prostitution, trafficking and sale.55

33. In 2007, the ILO Committee of Experts noted the enactment of various provisions penalizing the trafficking in persons and requested the Government to provide information on the effect given to them.56 CRC recommended that Venezuela establish mechanisms that facilitate the implementation and monitoring of plans and programmes on the subjects of trafficking, sexual exploitation and sale of children.57 While noting the establishment of the National Programme of Protection of Child Workers, CRC was concerned about allegations that children were involved in the worst forms of child labour in slavery-like conditions.58

34. CRC urged Venezuela to conduct awareness-raising campaigns against corporal punishment.59

35. CRC recommended that Venezuela ensure that street children were provided with adequate nutrition, shelter, health care and educational opportunities as well as adequate protection and assistance.60

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