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Urgent Appeal for the Immediate and Unconditional Release of Human Rights Defenders in Venezuela

The diverse group of individuals, including teachers, tradespeople, and human rights defenders, exemplifies the extensive and varied impact of the Venezuelan government’s repressive policies. This policy has resulted in politically motivated arbitrary detentions, instances of torture, enforced disappearances, and the devastating disruption of their personal and professional lives. It is imperative that all of these individuals are released immediately and unconditionally.

The following individuals who have been unjustly detained in Venezuela:

1. Emirlendris Benítez: A dedicated tradeswoman and mother, arrested in August 2018.

2. María Auxiliadora Delgado and Juan Carlos Marrufo: A married couple, detained in March 2019.

3. Darío Estrada: A father and neurodiverse person, unjustly detained in December 2020.

4. Robert Franco: A committed teacher and trade unionist, arrested in December 2020.

5. Javier Tarazona: A prominent human rights defender and brother, detained in July 2021.

These individuals have been targeted and detained solely for their peaceful advocacy and defence of human rights in Venezuela. Their arbitrary detention is a grave violation of their fundamental rights and freedoms, and it is imperative that they are released immediately and unconditionally.

As human rights defenders, these individuals have tirelessly worked to promote and protect the rights of all Venezuelans, often at great personal risk. Their unwavering dedication to the cause of human rights and social justice has contributed significantly to the advancement of democratic values and the rule of law in Venezuela.

We RIGHTSDEFENDERS urge the authorities in Venezuela to uphold their international human rights obligations and ensure the immediate release of Emirlendris Benítez, María Auxiliadora Delgado, Juan Carlos Marrufo, Darío Estrada, Robert Franco, Javier Tarazona, and all individuals detained for their peaceful activism. Their continued detention is a clear offence to justice and the rule of law.

RIGHTSDEFENDERS call on the Venezuelan government to prioritize the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and to demonstrate its commitment to the principles of democracy and the rule of law by releasing these individuals without further delay.