Procedure : 2017/2651(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0275/2017

Texts tabled :


Debates :

Votes :

PV 27/04/2017 - 5.69
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :


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See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0270/2017

to wind up the debate on the statement by the Commission

pursuant to Rule 123(2) of the Rules of Procedure

on the human rights situation in Venezuela (2017/2651(RSP))

Charles Tannock, Mark Demesmaeker on behalf of the ECR Group

European Parliament resolution on the human rights situation in Venezuela (2017/2651(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its earlier resolutions on Venezuela and the deteriorating situation of human rights in the country, in particular those of 8 June 2016(1), 12 March 2015(2) and 18 December 2014(3),

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Venezuela is a signatory,

–  having regard to the Venezuelan Constitution, in particular Articles 72 and 233 thereof,

–  having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas on 27 March 2017 the Venezuelan Supreme Court passed legislation granting itself the right to exercise legislative powers hitherto restricted to the National Assembly, and also to restrict the parliamentary immunity of members of parliament, thereby limiting the capabilities of the democratically elected National Assembly, which is dominated by the opposition and which has decried the action of the Supreme Court as an attempt by the current President, Nicolás Maduro, to consolidate his power by undemocratic means;

B.  whereas an action of this nature has worrying precedents in Venezuelan history, particularly in the nullification of National Assembly actions through Ruling 808, invoked by the Supreme Court on 1 August and 5 September 2016 and declaring the National Assembly in contempt;

C.  whereas the democratic and constitutional norms of Venezuela are threatened by such actions, in particular the principle of the separation of powers enshrined in the Venezuelan constitution and the legal obligations of judges to maintain the integrity of that constitution;

D.  whereas such norms are necessary to protect the fundamental rights of a nation’s citizens and uphold the tenets of democratic governance and the rule of law;

E.  whereas international pressure has previously forced President Maduro to ask the Supreme Court to review the rulings nullifying the National Assembly, with the effect that on 1 April 2017 the authority of the Assembly appeared to have been reinstated by new rulings released by the Supreme Court;

F.  whereas the National Assembly consists of 167 seats, 112 of which are currently held by Venezuela’s opposition coalition, thus forming a significant majority; whereas the Supreme Court has blocked four members of the Assembly (three of them belonging to the opposition) from taking office, thereby depriving the opposition of its two-thirds majority;

G.  whereas the number of political prisoners in Venezuela has risen to at least 111 in the last few days, in the wake of a wave of arbitrary arrests in reaction to the protests against the Supreme Court decision; whereby opposition leaders such as Leopoldo López, Antonio Ledezma and Daniel Ceballos are among these prisoners;

H.  whereas the Venezuelan Government has suspended the local and regional elections scheduled for December 2016, and has barred the holding of a referendum on recalling President Maduro, despite it being constitutionally permissible; whereby this suspension shows no sign of being lifted and the government has threatened to prolong it indefinitely;

1.  Condemns in the strongest terms the breach of the Venezuelan constitution by the country’s own government, and decries the use of the Supreme Court by the President to attack the National Assembly;

2.  Considers the Supreme Court’s ruling and nullification of the National Assembly to be a politically motivated gesture aimed at suppressing the opposition and prolonging President Maduro’s tenure indefinitely; believes that such a ruling constitutes an outright attack on the principles of democracy, freedom of expression and good governance;

3.  Considers, similarly, the assumption of National Assembly powers by the Supreme Court to be a fundamentally undemocratic action that is in direct violation of the Venezuelan constitution;

4.  Calls for the immediate and full restitution of the National Assembly’s constitutional powers, and for the Venezuelan Government to recognise that the separation of powers and non-interference between legitimate authorities are fundamental to democracy;

5.  Calls for the immediate release of all political prisoners in Venezuela, and reiterates that the freeing of political prisoners has been previously approved by the National Assembly through the Law of National Reconciliation (vetoed by the executive); highlights the fact that a peaceful solution to the situation in Venezuela is unlikely to be found in the long term if political prisoners remain a factor in the Venezuelan system of governance;

6.  Calls on the Venezuelan Government to respect its own constitution, in particular the constitutional right to freedom of peaceful assembly, as well as the security and freedom of all citizens, in particular those heretofore at greater risk of intimidation, attack and arbitrary detention, including human rights defenders, opposition figures and activists, journalists and members of non-governmental organisations;

7.  Encourages the Venezuelan Government to cease the undemocratic consolidation of power associated with President Maduro’s regime, and also to lift the suspension of the local and regional elections, allowing free, fair and transparent electoral processes to take place;

8.  Requests the Venezuelan authorities to allow external humanitarian aid into the country, in light of the severe economic and health-related crises sweeping Venezuela;

9.  Calls on the Council to consider the option of targeted sanctions and other measures against government officials or persons deemed responsible for violating the rights of protestors, the political opposition or individuals involved in the defence of human rights;

10.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Government and National Assembly of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly and the Secretary-General of the Organisation of American States.


Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0269.


Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0080.


OJ C 294, 12.8.2016, p. 21.

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