The Venezuelan Bishops’ Committee on National Justice and Peace is deploring the arrest without cause of numerous individuals as a violation of their human rights, saying the arrests of those who were exercising their civil right to protest are intended to spread “fear among the rest of the citizens.”
“The State has returned to the practice of preventive detention, to ‘detention for investigation’ instead of ‘investigating in order to detain.’ These are actions that take us back to an era we thought we had overcome,” the bishops said in a statement.
The 13 protestors arrested over the past several days were protesting the new education law that banishes religion classes from state schools and gives the Chavez goverment control over education in both private and public schools.
In their statement, the Venezuelan bishops also denounced the courts for issuing orders that deprive detainees of the freedoms and making no distinction between them and convicted criminals. There “are no guarantees that the physical integrity and the lives of those detained will be respected,” they added.
“By choosing to hold these people in public and notoriously unsafe prisons, it seems there is a desire to create precedents that terrorize the rest of citizens,” the bishops warned.
For this reason, they continued, “We denounce and repudiate all attacks against the dignity of the human person and against the honorable work of organizations that for years have worked for the defense of human rights. Defamation, raids, spoken and written attacks are actions that discredit and denigrate the reputation and moral of serious and committed organizations,” they said.
“We demand the Venezuelan State stick to the standards of protection of human rights established in the Constitution,” the bishops continued.
They encouraged Venezuelans to continue striving for reconciliation in the country and they stressed that the “Justice and Peace office, fulfilling its humanitarian mission to defend the human rights of all citizens, regardless of their political opinions, will continue to support any denouncement of those whose rights are being affected.”