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Parliamentary questions
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29 January 2021
E-005078/2020(ASW)
Answer given by High Representative/Vice-President Borrell
on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-005078/2020

The European Union (EU) has expressed its support for the work of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN HCHR) and the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission (IFFM) in Venezuela, and called for their unfettered access to carry out their mandates.

The EU has also expressed deep concern about the serious and repeated human rights violations reported by both bodies, to which the High Representative/Vice-President referred during his interventions before the European Parliament(1) and in the context of the recent ministerial meeting of the International Contact Group on Venezuela(2).

The EU has funded the UN HCHR office in Caracas and has supported the extension of the IFFM mandate, and is ready to assist the UN HCHR in efforts to ensure the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Venezuela.

The EU adopted restrictive measures in view of the situation in Venezuela(3) in November 2017 with the aim of fostering a peaceful, political and democratic solution, through credible, transparent and internationally monitored presidential elections, leading to the restoration of democracy, the rule of law and human rights.

In November 2020, the sanctions regime was renewed for another year(4) in light of the persistent actions undermining democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights. Currently 36 natural persons are listed under the sanctions regime. Any decision on additional listings falls within the remit of the Council.

The conditions have not been yet met for a credible, inclusive and transparent electoral process in Venezuela. There can be no unilateral solution to the situation in Venezuela: the way forward is through incremental progress and dialogue.

One of the key steps to improving the situation is the release of all political prisoners, which the EU has repeatedly called for, including during the European External Action Service mission to Caracas that took place in September 2020(5), and will continue to do so.

(1)European Parliament Debate, 7 October 2020; https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/CRE-9-2020-10-07-ITM-008_EN.html .
(2)Ministerial Declaration of the International Contact Group on Venezuela, 17 September 2020, https://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/venezuela/85334/international-contact-group-venezuela-ministerial-declaration_en .
(3)Council Decision (CFSP) 2017/2074 of 13 November 2017 concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Venezuela OJ L 295, 14.11.2017, p. 60‐68; and Council Regulation (EU) 2017/2063 of 13 November 2017 concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Venezuela OJ L 295, 14.11.2017, p. 21‐37.
(4)Council Decision (CFSP) 2020/1700 of 12 November 2020 amending Decision (CFSP) 2017/2074 concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Venezuela OJ L 381, 13.11.2020, p. 24‐33: and Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/1696 of 12 November 2020 implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/2063 concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Venezuela OJ L 381, 13.11.2020, p. 8‐17.
(5)See EEAS press statement of 30 September 2020: https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-Homepage/86152/venezuela-press-release-eu-dialogue-stakeholders-caracas_en .
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