Press Release

IACHR Expresses Concern over the Rights of Young Venezuelans and Calls for Comprehensive Protection Measures to Be Adopted for This Population

July 2, 2020

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) wishes to express its concern over the current situation of the rights of young people in Venezuela and calls for comprehensive protection measures to be adopted for this population. The IACHR has received information through its different mechanisms regarding the particular problems that young Venezuelans are facing as a result of the humanitarian and institutional crisis that the country is experiencing. Although there is no single definition for “young people,” the IACHR uses the term to refer to people between the ages of 15 and 24, in line with the current understanding of the United Nations.

The IACHR deems that Venezuelan young people face enormous challenges to navigating their stage of life appropriately and building their skills, especially as regards their personal autonomy. According to recent reports from civil society organizations, dropout rates among middle- and high-school students and in higher and technical education are extremely high. This is allegedly due to interruptions to public services such as water, electricity, and transportation and the suspension of school meal programs. Likewise, according to these organizations, between 2016 and 2019, at least 15,000 young people were recruited by illegal armed groups on the border with Colombia.

Another source of concern is the country’s high youth unemployment rate, which reached 18.78% in 2019. On this point, the IACHR is concerned over how to access public programs such as Plan Chamba Juvenil, young people are obliged to carry the carnet de la patria identification card, the distinctive design of which suggests political and ideological allegiance with the government.

During its on-site visit to the Colombian–Venezuelan border in February 2020, the IACHR observed that Venezuelan migrants are largely young people experiencing poverty. The IACHR also noted that many of the young women who are migrating are either pregnant or carrying young babies. In this regard, the IACHR has already been informed of the shortage of contraceptive methods in Venezuela, which restricts women’s reproductive autonomy.

The IACHR also wishes to draw attention to how the intersectional nature of a range of factors—including gender, ethnicity, and disability—places various groups within this population at particular risk. As a result, the IACHR calls for measures using an intersectional approach to be adopted to allow Venezuelan young people to develop fully and exercise their civil and political and economic, social, and cultural rights in a comprehensive fashion.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 159/20