Only respect for fundamental rights, constructive and respectful dialogue and tolerance can help Venezuela to find a way out of its current violent crisis, MEPs said in a vote on Thursday. They condemned all acts of violence and loss of life and asked for an ad-hoc delegation of the European Parliament to be sent to Venezuela as soon as possible.
MEPs urge all parties and sections of Venezuelan society to stay calm, in both words and action, as new protests could trigger more violence, which would only further polarise the government and the opposition. Venezuelan authorities must ensure the security of all, immediately disarm and dissolve the uncontrolled armed pro-government groups and end their impunity, the text says.
Parliament also reminds the Venezuelan government that freedom of expression and the right to participate in peaceful demonstrations are fundamental rights in a democracy, which are recognized in the Venezuelan Constitution. Arrested students and opposition leaders must be immediately released, unfounded accusations and warrants against opposition leaders dropped and the freedom of the press, information and opinion guaranteed, it adds.
The resolution was passed 463 votes to 45, with 37 abstentions.
Since 12 February peaceful marches led by students, who highlighted the government’s failure to tackle high inflation, crime, shortages of staples, corruption and intimidation of the media and opposition, have led to at least 13 deaths, more than 70 injured and hundreds detained across Venezuela.