AMERICA/VENEZUELA - Protests by Bishops and Caritas for violence against humanitarian workers

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Caracas (Agenzia Fides) - The Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace of the Bishops' Conference of Venezuela and Caritas Venezuela "firmly reject the violation of the rights and deprivation of freedom of humanitarian workers of the Accion Solidaria organization" and denounce "the non-transparent procedure adopted to search the headquarters of this NGO", which is dedicated to the distribution of medicines and medical aid to people affected by the crisis that the country has been experiencing for some time. Yesterday afternoon, 7 September, the Fuerzas de Acciones Especiales (FAES), known as the "political police" of Maduro’s regime, broke into the NGO headquarters in Caracas and arrested some humanitarian workers.
In the text of the note, sent to Fides, it is emphasized that "these actions constrain the operational freedom of humanitarian workers in the country and make them the target of persecution and threats". The Bishops and Caritas therefore ask the State, "to preserve the life and physical integrity of the community throughout the national territory", "not to criminalize activities that are inspired by humanitarian principles and international humanitarian law, and not to hit the assets intended to mitigate requests for help in the areas of health, food, water and other services essential for the life of over 7 million vulnerable people in the country". Finally, they ask for "total clarity" on this specific situation that affects Accion Solidaria and worries all human rights defenders in the country. (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 8/9/2020)