September 27, 2022

Statement from Reps. Castro and Sires on New Report Detailing State-Sponsored Human Rights Violations in Venezuela

WASHINGTON – Today, Representative Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Subcommittee on International Development, International Organizations, and Global Corporate Social Impact and Representative Albio Sires (NJ-08), Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, Migration, and International Economic Policy, released the following statement in response to a new report from the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela that details systematic human rights violations under the Maduro regime:

“In the face of tremendous resistance from the Maduro regime, the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission has produced a remarkably detailed report on the appalling human rights violations committed by intelligence authorities in Venezuela. We strongly urge the United States and other members of the Human Rights Council to implement the recommendations of the Fact-Finding Mission, and to renew its mandate for two years. As Venezuelans continue to suffer from violence and instability under the current regime, the Fact-Finding Mission plays a crucial role in assessing accountability for human rights violations and charting a path toward a peaceful and democratic transition of power. We urge Congress to pass our bill, the AFFECT Human Rights in Venezuela Act, which will extend the Fact-Finding Mission’s work, hold state actors accountable for their abuses, and support the ongoing humanitarian needs of the Venezuelan people.” 

During Monday’s interactive dialogue with the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Fact-Finding Mission directly implicated Nicolás Maduro and senior Venezuelan officials in persecution, violence, torture, and anti-democratic attacks on opposition leaders, NGO employees, activists, journalists, and other civilians. The Fact-Finding Mission also found that Venezuelan intelligence agencies, the General Direction of Counter Military Intelligence (DGCIM) and the Bolivarian Service of National Intelligence (SEBIN), violated numerous international treaties and conventions through acts of gender-based and sexual violence, forced disappearances, and other forms of torture and cruelty. The report additionally called attention to crimes committed due to the expansion of illegal mining, particularly in the Arco Minero region, where both State and non-State actors have infringed on the rights of local and indigenous populations and committed a range of violations, including torture, arbitrary detention, extortion, and extrajudicial killings.