IACHR REGRETS VIOLENT DEATHS IN VENEZUELAN PRISON
Washington, D.C., March 11, 2010 — The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) deeply regrets the violent deaths of several inmates at the Yare I Capital Region Prison in Caracas, Venezuela. The IACHR urgently calls on the State to adopt any measures necessary to ensure that similar events are not repeated.
According to the information the Commission has received, on March 9, 2010, serious clashes broke out among inmates of the Yare I Prison, leaving several prisoners dead and many others injured. The IACHR expresses its concern about these occurrences and its solidarity with the relatives of the inmates who died violently. The Commission recalls that State human rights obligations include the obligation to adopt all measures necessary to guarantee the life and humane treatment of persons deprived of liberty.
The IACHR also reiterates its concern over the high rates of violence in Venezuelan penitentiaries and over the fact that criminal organizations in several prisons are in possession of large-caliber weapons. The IACHR reaffirms that the States are responsible for adopting security measures to protect persons subject to their jurisdiction, an obligation that is even more evident when it comes to those in custody, over whom the State stands in a position of guarantor. This obligation is imposed not only in relation to the authority of the State, but also in terms of the actions of private third parties.
The IACHR again urges the Venezuelan authorities to adopt the appropriate measures to prevent outbreaks of violence in prisons. The Inter-American Commission has been monitoring the prison situation in Venezuela for several years through different mechanisms, including contentious cases and provisional measures it has requested of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
The Commission also reminds the State that provisional measures granted by the Inter-American Court have been in effect since March 2006. In granting these measures, the Court noted that “States are under a duty to take immediate action to guarantee the physical, mental and moral integrity of inmates, as well as their right to life.” It decided to “call upon the State to immediately adopt such measures as may be required to efficiently and conclusively prevent violence at the Yare Prison, in order that no inmate or any other person at said facility is killed or their personal integrity impaired.” The Court has also granted provisional measures for persons deprived of liberty at the Monagas Judicial Confinement Center (“La Pica”), the Penitentiary Center of the Central Occidental Region (Uribana Prison), and the Capital El Rodeo I and El Rodeo II Judicial Confinement Centers. In its order of November 24, 2009, the Inter-American Court maintained these provisional measures in effect.
A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who act in a personal capacity, without representing a particular country, and who are elected by the OAS General Assembly.
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