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PRESS RELEASE | Progress continues in Venezuela to impose a law against Civil Society and definitively close civic space | via: Provea

Provea | Venezuela | January 22, 2024

The undersigned organizations and people convey, once again, to the national and international community our alarm and profound rejection of the ‚ÄúLaw on Supervision, Regularization, Performance and Financing of Non-Governmental and Related Organizations‚ÄĚ that the National Assembly (AN ) has been reactivated through an apparent public consultation process in order to reach its possible approval, despite the fact that during the year 2023 the State received well-founded and numerous objections from the international community, both from the Office of the High Commissioner and Procedures Specials of the United Nations, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Independent Fact-Finding Mission and national and international civil society on the inadmissibility of this law, due to its openly violating nature of the right to freedom of association and other human rights , since it would cause the definitive closure and militarization of civic space and irreparable damage to the rights of the population and the fabric of Venezuelan society.

With clear procedural defects, without a text published by the AN or by any public entity, of which only an unofficial version is known, even though the bill was approved in the first discussion a year ago, on January 24 of the year 2023, and without a prior, broad and plural call by mass or official media, on January 12 the so-called consultation was initiated at the headquarters of the AN in Caracas and televised by the parliament channel, in which it was public and The intention to harass, criminalize and disable Venezuelan civil society is notorious since a pre-existing list of 62 organizations accused of crimes punishable by this law was once again exposed, and it was carried out in the majority presence of military and police intelligence bodies.

In reference to the content of the text, we reiterate that this law:

  • It is not a regulatory instrument, since there already exists in Venezuela a legally established regulatory system favorable to the exercise of freedom of association, in accordance with the constitutional norm, both in terms of registration, accountability and supervision. A system that, since 2010, the State itself restricted, introducing discretionary and arbitrary mechanisms that hindered procedures and that, in 2019, was partially suspended in order to centralize and limit it further, causing serious difficulties for foundations and civil associations to comply. current legal requirements. Among other registries, military registration is provided for in the Comprehensive Defense Registry that is administered by the Ministry of Popular Power for Defense, as provided for in article 35 et seq. of the Registration and Enlistment Law for the Comprehensive Defense of the Nation.
  • It is not designed to improve the prevention and punishment of possible illegal acts or irregular situations by civil associations and foundations, since, in their own statements and exchange of information with international organizations, such as the CFATF in the March 2023 Mutual Evaluation, the The State has affirmed that, in any case, these alleged events occur very rarely in the country and judicial procedures exist to investigate and clarify them, in accordance with the rule of law and due process. In its explanatory statement and articles, the law transforms associative law into a matter of ‚Äúpublic order‚ÄĚ with which the suspicion and presumption of crimes and the unjustified intervention of the military and security bodies in the surveillance and control of non-profit associations, deepening the criminalization, penalization, illegalization and confiscation of the freedoms of peaceful assembly, expression, information, participation, defense of rights, as well as denunciation, criticism, questioning or peaceful dissent, access to rights protection systems and international cooperation for humanitarian assistance and development, assimilating all these rights with ‚Äúterrorism‚ÄĚ, ‚Äúconspiracy‚ÄĚ, ‚Äúdestabilization‚ÄĚ, ‚Äúforeign interference‚ÄĚ or simply ‚Äúpolitical activities‚ÄĚ.
  • No promueve ni protege el derecho a la libertad de asociaci√≥n. Por el contrario, sin bases que la justifiquen y de forma contraria a la Constituci√≥n y a los est√°ndares internacionales que protegen la esencia libre, civil y aut√≥noma del derecho a la asociaci√≥n, la ley se extiende de manera totalizante, ambigua y desproporcionada a todas las fundaciones y asociaciones civiles de derecho privado sin fines de lucro; deja sin efecto los registros de los que disponen las asociaciones con personalidad jur√≠dica para trabajar en el pa√≠s, de acuerdo con el sistema y las leyes vigentes, los cuales considera inexistentes; crea un nuevo r√©gimen asociativo de ‚Äúrelevancia p√ļblica‚ÄĚ, militar y fuera de la Constituci√≥n, que impone la autorizaci√≥n, control y fiscalizaci√≥n del Estado sobre todo el ciclo de vida de las asociaciones (fines, fundaci√≥n, funcionamiento y actividad); ilegaliza toda asociaci√≥n de hecho y establece un sistema de controles y requisitos adicionales, innecesarios, permanentes y no compatibles con la condici√≥n civil de las asociaciones, que los hace de imposible cumplimiento. En espec√≠fico, la ley viola frontalmente el art√≠culo 5 de los Pactos Internacionales de Derechos Civiles y Pol√≠ticos y de Derechos Sociales, Econ√≥micos y Culturales que proh√≠be la destrucci√≥n de derechos o su restricci√≥n excesiva.
  • De este modo, la ley persigue prop√≥sitos inconstitucionales y violatorios de los est√°ndares internacionales en materia de derechos humanos, por lo que no admite consulta ni mejora posible, tal como ha sido expresado por los √≥rganos de protecci√≥n de derechos humanos y de la sociedad civil venezolana, en defensa de sus derechos, exigiendo al Estado ‚Äúderogar o abstenerse de adoptar cualquier medida o ley que pueda limitar el ejercicio del derecho a la libertad de asociaci√≥n o d√© lugar a un control indebido de las organizaciones de la sociedad civil o una injerencia en sus actividades, y establecer un entorno seguro y propicio para que todas las organizaciones de la sociedad civil puedan realizar sus actividades sin temor a represalias‚ÄĚ en todos sus √°mbitos de desempe√Īo civiles, pol√≠ticos, econ√≥micos, sociales, culturales y ambientales.
  • The suppression of civic space and the right of association, as proposed in the bill and the virtual annulment of the activities of foundations and non-profit civil associations, deeply impacts the conditions for the next electoral process in the country. . Guaranteeing fair and democratic elections not only implies allowing the unrestricted participation of candidates, but also maintaining a vigorous and robust civil society that can exercise citizen oversight and promote the right to vote. The international community and all those involved in overcoming the Venezuelan crisis and the search for a peaceful and democratic transition cannot ignore this threat, which would undermine the holding of fair, safe and free elections. There cannot be authentic elections in Venezuela without civil society and it cannot be controlled by military entities. Compliance with the Partial Agreement on the Promotion of Political Rights and Electoral Guarantees for all must also be measured through the guarantee and respect of the right of association of non-governmental organizations.
  • Consequently: 1) We call on the National Assembly not to insist on the advancement and discussion of a text that clearly violates multiple human rights, fails to comply with and disrespects the National Constitution and does not contribute in any way to improving the country’s environment in a context of Complex Humanitarian Emergency and electoral period; 2) We urge the national and international community to reject the adoption of the Law on Supervision, Regularization, Performance and Financing of Non-Governmental and Related Organizations, and any other regulatory text that may excessively limit the exercise of the right to freedom of association or results in undue military control of civil society organizations or interference in their activities.
  • Subscribing organizations:
  1. AC House of the New Town
  3. AC Community in Motion
  4. AC Concentroccidente of GS Cesap
  5. AC Youth and Development
  6. National Academy of Engineering and Habitat
  7. Access to Justice
  8. Peasant Action
  10. Activated Panama
  11. Cojede√Īa Research Agency (ACI)
  12. AlertVenezuela
  13. Alliance of Relatives and Victims in Venezuela (ALFAVIC VENEZUELA)
  14. Alliance for Venezuela
  15. Soul
  16. Transplanted Friends from Venezuela
  17. International Amnesty
  18. Apuneg
  19. We All Fit Here
  20. El Convite Campesino Center Civil Association
  21. Chunikai Ecological and Social Civil Association
  22. Civil Association Strength, Union, Justice, Solidarity and Peace (FUNPAZ)
  23. Los Naguaritos Civil Association
  24. Portachuelo Civil Association
  25. Neighborhood Radar Civil Association
  26. S√ļmate Civil Association
  27. Uniandes Civil Association
  28. Venezuelan Civil Association in Córdoba Argentina
  29. Blandin Community Association
  30. Association of Professors of the Central University of Venezuela
  31. Association of Owners and Residents of Prados del Este
  32. Venezuelan Migrants Association
  33. Venezuelan Association of Christian-Oriented Health Services (Avessoc)
  34. Venezuelan Association for Hemophilia
  35. Asocoinbar
  38. Open Classroom
  39. AVEPR
  41. Human Kaleidoscope
  42. Walking and Building Inclusive Society
  43. FIELD
  44. Canada Venezuela Democracy Forum
  45. Chair of Human Rights at the Universidad Centroccidental Lisandro Alvarado
  46. CCCB ‚Äď Advisory Council of the City of Barquisimeto
  48. Center for Action and Defense for Human Rights (CADEF)
  49. Center for Activism and Democratic Development for the region (CDDLatam)
  50. Youth Animation Center
  51. Center for Comprehensive Individual Psychopedagogical Care (CAIPI)
  52. Center for Human Rights of the Andrés Bello Catholic University
  53. Center for Law and Democracy Studies (CEDED)
  54. Center for Legal and Social Studies ‚Äď CELS (Argentina)
  55. Center for Social Research, Training and Women’s Studies ‚Äď CISFEM
  56. Justice and Peace Center ‚Äď Cepaz
  57. Center for Peace and Human Rights of the Central University of Venezuela
  58. Center for Defenders and Justice (CDJ)
  59. Cescoop
  60. Great Cinema Circuit
  61. Active Citizenship
  62. New Citizen
  63. Civil Rights Defenders
  64. Civilis Human Rights
  65. Climate21
  66. Coalition for Venezuela
  67. Bolívar State Bar Association
  68. Puerto Cabello Nursing College
  69. College of Nursing
  70. Human Rights Commission of the Federation of Venezuelan Bar Associations of the Apure state
  71. National Human Rights Commission of the Federation of Venezuelan Bar Associations of the Lara state
  72. National Human Rights Commission of the Federation of Venezuelan Bar Associations of the state of T√°chira
  73. Commission for Human Rights of the State of Zulia (Codhez)
  74. Commission for Human Rights and Citizenship (CODEHCIU)
  75. Human Rights Committee for the Defense of Pensioners, Retirees, Seniors and People with Disabilities
  76. Committee for the defense of human rights in Coche parish
  77. Committee for the Freedom of Social Fighters ‚Äď Gu√°rico
  78. Citizen Commitment
  79. Confederation of Venezuelan Workers in the Gu√°rico State (CTV-GUARICO)
  80. Council of Refugee Migrants and Returned Colombians of Bogot√°
  81. Consulting for Human Rights and Displacement-CODHES.
  82. consort
  83. Citizen Control for Security, Defense and the National Armed Forces
  84. Dan Buen Cinema Cooperative
  85. Venezuelan Colony Corporation in Colombia
  86. We create Citizen Alliance
  87. Cuman√° Mia
  88. Ladies in White Venezuela
  89. Due Process of Law Foundation
  90. Eco-effect
  91. Education for better living NGO
  92. EPIKEIA Human Rights
  93. Equalia
  94. Project and Social Consulting Team
  95. SOS Freedom Family
  96. Federation of Associations of University Professors of Venezuela (FAPUV)
  97. National Federation of Parents and Representatives Societies ‚Äď FENASOPADRES
  98. FetraYaracuy
  99. FICU. Foundation for the Cultural Integration of Migrants and Refugees
  100. Fordisi
  101. Hatillano Forum
  102. Criminal Forum
  103. San Antonio Forum
  104. Venezuelan Foreign Policy Forum
  105. FPPM-VE (Family Members of Military Political Prisoners)
  106. Northern Front of Caracas
  107. FUDECI
  108. Water Without Borders Foundation
  109. Aguaclara Foundation
  110. Solidarity Alliances Foundation
  111. Friends of the Historic Center of Barquisimeto Foundation
  112. Walking With You Foundation
  113. Colonia de Venezuela Foundation in the Dominican Republic Funcoverd
  114. Anzo√°tegui Human Rights Foundation
  115. Dignity, Justice and Freedom Foundation, NGO OMNIPRODNAM
  116. Goblins and Angels Vinotinto Foundation
  117. Juan Parra School of Performing Arts Foundation
  118. GRACE Foundation: Give Refugees a Chance
  119. Making Panas Foundation
  120. Iribarren Lucha Foundation
  121. John Boulton Foundation
  122. Human Development Laboratory Foundation
  123. Blue Lotus Foundation
  124. Lucelia Foundation
  125. Mahuampi Venezuela Foundation
  126. Yellow Manitas Foundation
  127. Nakama’s Foundation
  129. Foundation for Due Process ¬ęFundepro¬Ľ
  130. Foundation for Comprehensive Development (FUNDESI)
  131. Foundation for the Prevention of Violence Against Women
  132. San José de Chacao Foundation
  133. Sine Qua Non Foundation
  134. Venezuelans Abroad Foundation
  135. I Support You Foundation
  136. FundaNetes
  137. Fundeci AC
  138. Fundehullan
  139. Oil People
  140. Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect
  141. Interdisciplinary Group Humanitarian Emergency in Water
  142. La Colina Group A C.
  143. Orinoco Group
  144. CESAP Social Group
  145. Hearts On Venezuela
  146. Ideas for Democracy
  147. Promotes Latin America
  148. CASLA Institute
  149. ININCO Communication Research Institute, UCV
  150. UCAB Legal Research Institute
  151. Institute of Press and Freedom of Expression (IPLEX)
  152. International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights
  153. Institute for Peace and Development ‚Äď ‚Äč‚ÄčIPADES
  154. Venezuelan Institute of Social and Political Studies -INVESP
  155. International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
  156. Justice and Process Venezuela
  157. Justice, Encounter and Forgiveness
  158. Labo
  159. Peace Laboratory
  160. MBI in Action
  161. Powerful Mothers
  162. MAPANI
  163. Mavid Carabobo
  164. Mayday CONFAVIDT
  165. United Doctors of Venezuela
  166. My Coexist
  167. AC Social Monitor
  168. Citizen Movement Uniting Wills
  169. Workers Movement January 9
  170. National Consumer Initiative Movement
  171. Movement for Democracy (MPD)
  172. Mulier
  173. Human Rights Observatory of the University of Los Andes
  174. Human Rights Observatory of the Youth Animation Center
  175. Observatory of Political Ecology of Venezuela
  176. Venezuela Observatory of the University of Rosario
  177. LGBTIQ+ Violence Observatory
  178. Venezuelan Electoral Observatory (OEV)
  179. Geopolitical Observatory of Latin America
  180. Global Observatory of Communication and Democracy
  181. Hannah Arendt Observatory Chapter USA
  182. Venezuelan Human Rights ObservatoryWomen
  183. Venezuelan Prisons Observatory
  184. Venezuelan Observatory of Violence
  185. Odevida, Venezuela Chapter
  186. NGO Citizen Awakening
  187. NGO Men for Equity and Equality
  188. NGO Migrants for the Maule
  189. NGO Red Reto
  190. NGO Venezuelan Union in Peru
  191. Citizen Actions Opportunity
  192. Orfavideh. Organization of Relatives of Victims of Extrajudicial Executions
  193. StopHIV Organization
  194. Osc.Ação Social Irmandade Sem Fronteiras
  195. Organized Parents of Venezuela
  196. Active Peace
  197. Country Plan
  198. Venezuela Help Platform
  199. For the Venezuelan Family
  200. Prepare Family
  201. Pro-Venezuela Verein
  203. Provea ‚Äď Venezuelan Human Rights Action Education Program
  204. Human Rights Monitor Project
  205. Psychoven
  206. Human Rights Network-Lara / Roscio Project
  207. Baruta Network of Neighborhood Organizations
  208. Merida Feminist Network
  209. Neighborhood Network
  210. Venezuelan Network of Civil Society Organizations, SINERGIA
  211. NetworksHelp / Human Law Radio Station
  212. Resonalia
  213. Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights
  215. Jesuit Refugee Service for Latin America and the Caribbean ‚Äď JRS LAC
  216. Carabobo State Agricultural Union
  217. Sidernac Union
  218. Sips of Knowledge
  219. SOS Kidney Patients
  220. SOS Venezuela Radio
  222. Weaving Childhood Networks in Latin America and the Caribbean
  223. The Norwegian Venezuelan Justice Alliance
  224. All for the Future
  225. Electoral Transparency
  226. A World Without a Gag
  227. A Window to Freedom
  228. Affirmative Union of Venezuela
  229. Neighborhood Union for Citizen Participation AC
  230. Active Neighbors
  231. VENEMEX
  232. Venezuela Global
  233. Vicarage of Human Rights Archdiocese of Barquisimeto
  234. Young Vote
  235. Wainjirawa-UAIN
  236. 100% Estrogen
  237. Ana Fernandez
  238. Ana María Ruggeri Cova
  239. Aníbal Rosales
  240. Antonietta Jeanette Bastidas Hern√°ndez
  241. Aurelio Useche Kislnger
  242. Barbara Reuss
  243. Brian Schapira
  244. Carmen Martínez de Grijalva
  245. Cesar Batiz
  246. Claudia Astor M.
  247. Consuelo Ramos
  248. Daniel Vivas
  249. Daniela Guerra
  250. Darío Manuel Gómez Suárez
  251. Deixon Alberto
  252. Eddie A. Ramírez S.
  253. Edgardo Romero Chirinos
  254. Edward Ocariz
  255. Esperanza Ardila
  256. Estefanía Melendez
  257. Floralba Hernandez
  258. Franci S√°nchez Zambrano
  259. Gabriele Merz
  260. Gery Vasquez Cucho
  261. Gustavo Sarmiento
  262. Iraida Lovera
  263. Isabel Quintero
  264. Javier Samuel Paredes
  265. Jeanette Moreno
  266. Jeanfreddy Gutiérrez Torres
  267. Jeisi Blanco
  268. Jesus Castellanos Vasquez
  269. Jhonny Diaz Apitz
  270. Joel Garcia
  271. Joseph Allen
  272. José Amando Mejía
  273. Juan Alonso Molina
  274. Juan Carlos Fernandez Montoya
  275. Juan Carlos Gabaldon
  276. Juan Martinez
  277. Judith Brazon
  278. Judith Vega Mejía
  279. Julio César Fernández Toro
  280. Kethy Mendoza
  281. Kiomara Scovino
  282. Leonardo R Arg√ľello L
  283. Leyla Escobar
  284. Lisbeth Robles
  285. Luis Manuel Marcano Salazar
  286. Luis Trincado
  287. María Antonieta Torres Ferrer
  288. María Clara Robayo León
  289. Maria de Lourdes Ríos de Chiossone
  290. María Eugenia Escalona Montesinos
  291. Maria Jesus Torres
  292. Maria Teresa Romero
  293. Mari√°ngel Navas
  294. Maygret Ord√≥√Īez
  295. Mayra Medina
  296. Miguel Pizarro
  297. Miracles GIL QUINTERO
  298. Prof. Carlos Ayala Corao
  299. Ramon Cardozo
  300. Ra√ļl Azparren M.
  301. Ra√ļl Emilio Baduel Cafarelli
  302. Rebeca Pernalete
  303. Reinaldo Rojas
  304. Renato Bernieri
  305. Ricardo Zeas Mendoza
  306. Rigoberto Lobo
  307. Roberto Lopez Sanchez
  308. Roger Crespo
  309. Santiago Clavijo A.
  310. Santiago Loyo
  311. Scarleth Mujica
  312. Simón Gómez Guaimara
  313. Simon Mora
  314. Tamara Bechar
  315. Tawfik Hennaoi
  316. Teresita Oramas
  317. Victor Faza
  318. Victor Hernandez Mendible
  319. Victor Marquez Corao
  320. William Figueroa
  321. William Requejo Orobio
  322. Yaneth Josefina Torres
  323. Yelitza Espinoza
  324. Yorbelis Oropeza
  325. Ysmenia Barcelo
  326. Zair Mundaray Rodríguez
  327. Zoraida Pereira