Leave no trace behind

Behind last year’s protests lies a shield of impunity…

There are already plenty of reports recording what happened in the wave of protests last year, but a new one from the Human Rights Center of the Andres Bello Catholic University (CDH-UCAB) puts the magnifying glass on the State’s many strategies to cover up its abuses.

Under the title “Que no quede rastro” (Leave no Trace Behind), the 50-page report showcases the State’s efforts to undermine or even erase possible human rights violations through a series of questionable tactics: depriving detainees of means of communication, forcefully trying to replace their lawyers with public defenders, the use of military facilities (including hospitals), and having evidence vanish, among many others.

In a press release, the CDH-UCAB makes a summary of its findings:

At least ten strategies were used by institutions of the Venezuelan State Branches to deliberately cover up evidence of cruel treatments or torture, and to avoid such actions being publicized during the arrests made at the 2014 protests…

The CDH-UCAB concludes that the difficulties to present complaints for mishandlings or torture and the opportune making of a medical exam violate the United Nations’ Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners and the Istanbul Protocol

Also, the Human Rights Center recorded testimony in which public servants threatened victims with more harm or with depriving them from medical attention if they didn’t change their story on what had happened to them.”

The full report is available on the CDH-UCAB’s website. Sadly, there’s no English version of it at the moment.