Joint oral statement Venezuela UPR outcome
On 1 July 2022, Lawyers for Lawyers and the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) delivered an oral statement during the 50th Session of the UN Human Rights Council. During this session, the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Outcome Report of Venezuela was adopted. Lawyers for Lawyers and IBAHRI had already submitted a joint submission for the UPR-session of Venezuela.
The statement reads as follows:
We welcome the decision of Venezuela to accept some of the recommendations made at its third UPR related to the protection of human rights defenders and lawyers. We call upon Venezuela to effectively implement these recommendations without delay.
A fundamental aspect of the rule of law and an effectively functioning justice system is access to legal representation by an independent legal profession. Lawyers must be able to carry out their professional duties without harassment, intimidation or improper interference.
In Venezuela, lawyers are often faced with improper interference by the authorities, including surveillance, and are subjected to or threatened with prosecution when working on politically sensitive cases. Multiple lawyers or their family members have had to leave the country in response to the threats they receive.
Moreover, lawyers have reported being hindered in their ability to prepare an adequate defence for their clients, by not being provided with essential case documents or are prevented from visiting their clients.
Concerns about further possible criminalization of the legitimate professional activities of lawyers have increased after the International Cooperation Law bill, that seeks to limit NGOs’ ability to access resources including foreign funding, was presented in the National Assembly.
We urge Venezuela to:
- Effectively implement all supported UPR recommendations without delay;
- Take immediate measures to safeguard the independence of lawyers and provide protection against any form of undue interference with their work.
Thank you, Mr. President.
See recording of statement at UN Web TV: https://media.un.org/en/asset/k1h/k1hv4hduai (40:00 min)
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