Convinced that Venezuelan society will know how to find peaceful and constitutional solutions to reconquer democracy, the rule of law, equal rights, justice and economic improvement that will allow us to overcome the circumstances of need, oppression and injustice in which the majority of Venezuelans live, we, organizations of the human rights movement adopting this declaration express our intention to persist in the construction of a future of change for Venezuela, assuming the following commitment before the Venezuelan people, the victims of rights violations, social and political leaders, and the international community:
- We will participate in the active defense of any genuine and credible possibility of a solution to the political conflict that opens the way to democracy, based on the principles and standards of human rights, enforcing the legitimate right to elect and to be elected, through free and authentic elections. This requires an electoral institutionality that guarantees the will of the citizenry, expressed through the individual, free, secret and universal vote, inside and outside the country, and the revitalization of the culture of political participation, capable of discouraging any attempt to undermine, instrumentalize and manipulate the exercise of electoral rights. It requires as well an environment that guarantees security and protection for the exercise of freedom of expression and the free flow of information, the cessation of censorship, the restitution of independent media that have been arbitrarily closed, and the prohibition and rejection of all types of discrimination, especially for political reasons.
- We will continue working to put an end to impunity for abuses and arbitrariness, grand corruption and irregularities, denial, deprivation of rights, discrimination and violence of any kind. We will also work hard to prevent the normalization of human rights violations and to put an end to the practices of simulation, censorship and denial of access to public information, social control and coercion to prevent or nullify citizen participation in matters of public interest, raids, arbitrary detentions, torture and extrajudicial executions; exalting denunciation as a duty and faculty of every person and of every official of national public institutions and international organizations, in accordance with ethical imperatives and non-evadable and inexcusable obligations, established in standards of national and international law. Denunciation is the only resource of the victims to give visibility to the violations of rights and to exercise their legitimate demands for protection.
- We will continue to support millions of victims suffering from the harshness of the complex humanitarian emergency, from multiple deprivations of rights, in urban, rural and geographically remote areas, given:
- differential impacts on women, children and adolescents, the elderly, LGBTI people, people with disabilities, people in prisons, people with health problems, indigenous peoples and communities, producers and peasants, refugees, migrants and internally displaced persons;
- increasingly pronounced inequalities in access to food, adequate nutrition, medicines and precarious health services, with scarce supplies and health personnel; an excluding education, at all levels, with disqualified facilities and severe setbacks in the quality of teaching, which lost half of its educational staff due to lack of economic support; the continuous interruption of drinking water, sanitation, electricity, gas, transportation, fuel and communications services; and
- lack of security and protection, in conditions of high vulnerability to disaster risks and public health threats, such as pandemics, epidemics and outbreaks (including HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, SARS, COVID-19 and, more recently, smallpox), as well as exposed to exploitation, modern slavery or violence by groups in territorial, economic, and social control of areas of the country.
- Likewise, we give our full support to communities that lack the necessary responses to their deprivations, and all local organizations that provide humanitarian assistance and protection, with disadvantages of access to resources to meet the high burden of needs of the most vulnerable populations, assuming the risks of field work, in a non-democratic context.
- We will continue to defend the rights of indigenous peoples and communities, from a collective and intercultural perspective, in interdependence with the defense of environmental rights, national parks and protected natural monuments, in the face of the misappropriation of indigenous lands promoted by the State and anchored in an extractive economic model, of intensive exploitation of natural resources throughout Venezuela, for state purposes or private enjoyment. In this advocacy work, we will encourage the creation of a new development model of nature protection, action against the effects of climate change and responsible use of resources, with human rights perspectives and participation of indigenous peoples; as well, we will demand the protection of indigenous communities from the impacts of the complex humanitarian emergency, with a focus on cross-border and binational work, no politicization or presence of armed groups in their territories, and the recovery of environmental institutions, including the reform or repeal of laws that disregard environmental rights.
- We will remain firm in the will to promote the restoration of the responsibility, effectiveness and transparency of the State in the fulfillment of its national and international obligations, as part of a real process of democratic transition, to restore the confidence of society in the institutions of all public branches (executive, electoral, judicial, legislative and citizen) at the national, regional and local levels, and a prison system that makes effective the human rights of the entire prison population, subjected presently to treatment that harms their humanity. This includes reestablishing the constitutional limits of state functions; the separation and autonomy of powers; judicial independence and the right to defense and due process; probity and suitability in the appointment of those who exercise public functions, such as prosecutors, judges and judges; compliance with the rule of law and legal reserve; the fight against the scourge of corruption in public administration; and the activation of criminal justice mechanisms; along with a transitional justice process, as part of peace building, which guarantees memory, truth, justice, reparation to victims and non-repetition of the grave and massive human rights violations.
- We maintain our legitimate determination to appeal to all human rights protection mandates in the different systems, mechanisms and levels of response of the international community, so that they work in a complementary manner, together with multilateral efforts, in the construction of a democratic transition. This means joint, constant and permanent advocacy work to make visible the rights crisis in Venezuela and to warn about threats to victims, defenders, civil society and civic space, and continuing to demand from international institutions conducts that are consistent with the protection of rights and results-oriented, in any area of response (humanitarian, peace, development and human rights accountability). They must not reproduce practices of omission or inaction, ambiguity, silent diplomacy, concealment and secrecy, lack of relevance to structural violations, transfer of responsibilities to other actors and the subordination of human rights for the preeminence of assistance or obtaining resources.
- We will not abandon our advocacy mission, placed at the service of promoting a culture of human rights, from our different identities and voices, in all issues and work arenas, together with the victims, the population and communities, with other civil society organizations, unions, academic and scientific community, and in relations with national and international actors. Human rights inspire and lay the foundations for a common country project that guarantees equality and freedom for all people, democratic and with an inclusive, equitable and sustainable economic, social, cultural and environmental development, making them the north of a shared, plural, renovating, inclusive, propositive and motivating vision, which involves and empathizes all of us.
We have plenty of human capabilities, perseverance, and confidence that we will succeed, for the current generations and for those who are growing up in this country and abroad! United and together we will overcome.
December 10, 2022
International Human Rights Day, in commemoration of the 74th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights