Comisión para los Derechos Humanos del Estado Zulia

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CODHEZ RECORDS 377 DEATHS FROM POLICE VIOLENCE UNTIL JUNE 2020 IN EL ZULIA

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Septiembre 28, 2020

The July 2020 Summary on the overall human rights situation in Zulia focuses on the documentation of acts of violence that involve Venezuelan state security officials, causing the death of 377 people from January to June of this year.

These data, which resulted from monitoring media of the region, show that both police violence and the potentially illicit deaths associated with it tend to increase. This would suppose the nonobservance of the Venezuelan State regarding the basic principles of respect for the rights to life and personal integrity, and the breach of two of the higher values of its legal system and actions, such as life and the preeminence of human rights, as provided for in article 2 of the Constitution.

In the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, published on July 3rd, it is stated that the national government reported 41 deaths of officials during security operations, noting that it did not provide data on violent deaths in the framework of these operations, classified by the State as 'failure to obey a police order'. However, according to sources from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in the first five months of 2020, 1,324 violent deaths occurred in security operations nationally, such deaths include 9 women. According to this report, the security bodies to which the greatest number of deaths are attributed are the Special Actions Force of the Bolivarian National Police (FAES), responsible for 432 deaths; the Scientific, Penal and Criminal HInvestigations Corps (CICPC) responsible for 366 deaths; the Bolivarian National Guard responsible for 136 deaths; and, in the specific case of the state of Zulia, the regional police forces would be responsible for 124 deaths. The vast majority of cases are young men not older than 30 years of age, inhabitants of low-income sectors with a high crime rate.

According to our 2019 Annual Report on the general situation of human rights in Zulia , throughout that year, 497 violent incidents and 657 deaths caused by police violence took place in the region. Specifically, for the first half of 2019, the number of violent events reached 187 cases. Meanwhile, in the first half of 2020, 262 violent events were verified, which translates into an increase in cases of 40.10%. Regarding the number of deaths caused by state security forces, 250 were registered in the first half of last year, while during this same period in 2020, 377 deaths were reported, increasing, then, by 50.80%.

On the other hand, as it has been highlighted in our reports since March, this Summary monitors the functional crisis of the national public health system amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. In this regard, failures in infrastructure, supplies and sanitary implements persist, thus, evidencing the repeated omission of the Venezuelan State in complying with its obligation to guarantee the right to health and quality access to healthcare services in the region.

Download Codhez's July 2020 bulletin concerning the overall human rights situation in Zulia 

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