IACHR Grants Precautionary Measures in Favor of Labor Union Leaders in Venezuela

April 4, 2023

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Washington, D.C. — On April 1, 2023, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued Resolution 15/2023 granting precautionary protection measures in favor of seven labor union leaders from the National Workers Labor Coalition (CSNT) in Venezuela, whom it deems to be at serious, urgent risk of suffering irreparable harm to their human rights.

According to the petitioning party, since 2022, the beneficiaries have played a leading role in calling for demonstrations in relation to their disagreement with the approval of a technical instruction by the National Budget Office (ONAPRE) that allegedly established salary cuts and disregarded collective bargaining agreements, among other things.

The petitioning party reported that the beneficiaries are allegedly experiencing repeated threats, harassment, and surveillance by State agents—including the deputy director of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service himself—as a result of their involvement in the demonstrations. They are also allegedly under surveillance both in their homes and when they move about, and their families have also become targets of harassment. The IACHR requested information from the State of Venezuela under the terms of Article 25 of its Rules of Procedure but has not received a response.

After analyzing the the factual and legal allegations provided by the petitioning party, the IACHR deemed that CSNT union leaders Anneliese Josiel Toledo Castillo, Carlos Eduardo Salazar Ojeda, Elsa Isabel Castillo González, José Paulino Patines Guanique, Leída Rosa Brito de Lobo, Petra Margot Monasterios, and Rafael Octavio Arreaza Padilla are in an ongoing situation of risk that is likely to increase, given the current circumstances in the country and taking into account that the events described above were allegedly perpetrated by State agents, such that the beneficiaries are in a particularly vulnerable situation. Consequently, in accordance with Article 25 of its Rules of Procedure, the IACHR requested that the State of Venezuela:

  1. adopt the necessary measures to protect the beneficiaries' rights to life and personal integrity;
  2. implement the necessary protection measures to enable the beneficiaries to continue going about their work as labor union leaders without being subjected to acts of intimidation, threats, or other acts of violence in the course of doing so;
  3. agree on any measures to be implemented with the beneficiaries and their representatives; and
  4. report on the actions it implements to investigate the alleged events that led to the adoption of this resolution so as to prevent them from being repeated. The IACHR's granting of this precautionary measure and its adoption by the State does not entail a prejudgment on any petition that may eventually be filed before the inter-American system to allege that the rights protected by any applicable instruments have been violated.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 056/23

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