Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement in response to today's report by Human Rights Watch documenting the unlawful use of force by Venezuelan security forces against innocent civilians and antigovernment demonstrators.
"The report issued by Human Rights Watch details incidents of physical torture, psychological abuses, and the beating and shooting of unarmed protestors to silence dissent in Venezuela. Equally troublesome is the documented evidence that Venezuelan officials and security forces have collaborated with armed pro-government gangs complicit in the worst abuses committed against innocent civilians. The Venezuelan government is hiding behind its executive authority and the judiciary to repress political opponents, yet justice is denied to the innocent victims of this wave of political violence.
"Human Rights Watch must be commended for issuing this timely report and I look forward to hearing the testimony of their Executive Director for the Americas, Mr. José Miguel Vivanco this Thursday as the Senate Foreign Relations Committee holds an important hearing on Venezuela.
"The Venezuelan government must be held accountable and provide a clear explanation about the human rights violations committed by its security forces, and President Maduro must take definitive action to protect the rights of all Venezuelan citizens."