The Presidential Commission for Human Rights and Attention to Victims joins the complaint about what happened in the early morning of June 9th, 2020 in relation to the lawyer and human rights activist from the municipality of Andrés Eloy Blanco in the state of Lara, Milagros Rodríguez, who was arbitrarily detained in the city of Sanare when she was waiting to buy gasoline at a local service station and complained to members of the state police, who controlled the service, about the distribution scheme used for the supply.
We emphasize that this new arbitrary detention takes place in the midst of a context of threats, persecution and harassment strengthened by the state of alarm decreed by the usurpation that has led to a series of abuses of power and human rights violations. Specifically, this is also circumscribed in an environment of criminalization of the work of protecting, defending and promoting human rights.
The factual power has been in charge of implementing a hostile and adverse policy against the development of human rights defenders’ activities through the use of a stigmatizing, discriminatory and discrediting discourse that has promoted a structure of violence that has come to affect the life and personal integrity of defenders in different environments, including those not directly associated with their work.
The arbitrary detention also takes place in the context of a critical situation of general shortage of gasoline that mainly affects the cities of the interior of the country, circumstances that are compounded by the new sales system that imposes on Venezuelans a disproportionate cost that is very difficult for citizens to assume, given the complex humanitarian emergency that the country is going through. This is the result of the loss of the oil production apparatus attributable to the negligence of the usurping regime.
It is worth noting that defender Milagros Rodríguez was not committing any crime, on the contrary, she was making a legitimate claim of her rights as a Venezuelan citizen to receive equal treatment in access to quality goods and services, as enshrined in article 117 of our Constitution. And by virtue of the lack of a judicial arrest warrant empowering police officers to proceed with arrest, this Presidential Commission on Human Rights is under a duty to classify such action as illegal and arbitrary detention.
Thus, the Presidential Commissioner for Human Rights and Attention to Victims categorically rejects the arbitrary detention of Milagros Rodríguez and for that reason demands her immediate release without restrictions and full respect for her rights as a defender as enshrined in the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Institutions to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
To this end, we are submitting this complaint to international bodies, including (i) the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; (ii) the Follow-up Mechanism for Venezuela (MESEVE); (iii) the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; and (iv) the United Nations Special Rapporteur for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders.