In the face of new, sophisticated restrictions, frontline human rights activists are unprepared for the security challenges they face, while donors and international support groups struggle to collaborate effectively and protect and defend human rights, Freedom House concludes in a report issued today.
Since early February, Venezuela has been rocked by nationwide protests and clashes with police that have killed more than a dozen people. Initially motivated by frustration with a collapsing economy and soaring crime rates, demonstrators are now struggling to defend their basic human rights in the face of the government’s aggressive response, which includes not only deadly police violence but a determined effort to choke off all independent sources of information about the crisis.
Freedom House condemns restrictions to freedom of expression that the Venezuelan government has imposed as a reaction to street protests, and calls on the government to allow all press to operate freely. Since students began public protests February 12, authorities have tightened press restrictions, including censorship of media, as well as detentions and violence against journalists.