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UK Government – Let’s not forget Venezuela

Written by Alice McCool on Friday, 14 March 2014

Since the situation in Ukraine turned from protests, to revolution, to diplomatic crisis, we’ve been bombarded with analysis in the media and responses from an array of world leaders – and rightly so. The events have exposed both the endemic corruption and disregard for human rights of the Yanukovych regime, and the Ukrainian people’s stance against this injustice has left hundreds dead and seriously injured. 


Since the situation in Ukraine turned from protests, to revolution, to diplomatic crisis, we’ve been bombarded with analysis in the media and responses from an array of world leaders – and rightly so. The events have exposed both the endemic corruption and disregard for human rights of the Yanukovych regime, and the Ukrainian people’s stance against this injustice has left hundreds dead and seriously injured. The UK Government has reacted in a timely and robust manner including responding to our risk alert by taking steps towards freezing the corrupt assets of Ukrainian officials in the UK – which are lining the pockets of our financial institutions law and accountancy firms, and luxury estate agents.

But the crisis which has been simultaneously unfolding in Venezuela has not received the same level of attention. When protests against high levels of crime economic instability and corruption broke out in Venezuela last month, the country’s Government (as in Ukraine) responded – and continues to respond – with disproportionately repressive measures. On top of dozens of deaths, injuries and unlawful detentions, the government has imposed limits on access to information, peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.

Falling into the bottom 20 of the 177 countries ranked in the Corruption Perceptions Index 2013 Venezuela’s lack of independent bodies able to hold the Government to account make the country extremely vulnerable to corruption. These weak institutions are also exacerbating the current situation, with their limited autonomy deeming them ineffective in protecting the rights of all citizens.

This is why Transparency International has called on the Venezuelan Government to guarantee the right of citizens to access to information freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. Many TI chapters around the world are now asking their governments – as part of the international community – to call for the preservation of peace and democracy in Venezuela, as part of our global mission to fight corruption.

We at TI-UK have written to our Foreign Secretary William Hague urging the British Government to take a clear public stance condemning the current situation in Venezuela and the related issues of corruption, human rights violations and unconstitutional behaviour. We’ve asked him to begin by using the current session of the UN Human Rights Council to raise the UK’s concerns about the situation in Venezuela under Item 4 on country situations (March 17-18 2014).

While Britain is perhaps not complicit in Venezuelan corruption in the same way we are in that of Ukraine and Russia the UK’s role in the global community means we have a responsibility to stand up for the rights of those who are prevented from doing so themselves. In this case, it is the people of Venezuela.

TI-UK’s letter on Venezuela to the Foreign Minister is available to download here.
Transparencia Venezuela’s detailed information bulletins (in Spanish) are available here.

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Read 7517 times Last modified on Tuesday, 24 November 2015 11:47

Alice McCool

Alice formerly worked for Transparency International UK as our Campaigns Officer. You can tweet her via @McCoolingtons.

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