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OAS Secretary General Regrets Venezuela’s Withdrawal from the American Convention on Human Rights

  September 11, 2013

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, today expressed regret that the withdrawal of Venezuela from the American Convention on Human Rights has been finalized and recalled that this instrument is the cornerstone in the struggle to promote a universal Inter-American System of Human Rights. He said that by withdrawing from the obligations established in the American Convention, Venezuela "moves against that goal and weakens the System."

On September 10, 2012, the OAS Secretary General received the note in which the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela announced its decision to denounce the American Convention on Human Rights. The complaint, therefore, relieves the country of its obligations under the American Convention and, for Venezuela, it took effect yesterday, September 10, 2013.

At the time, Secretary Insulza called for that decision to be reviewed, considering that the Venezuelan government is also committed to the strengthening of the Inter-American Human Rights System, and this goal is not achieved denouncing the fundamental instrument enshrining those rights. It can be achieved, however, by remaining in the System and driving from within the changes deemed necessary for the protection and defense of human rights to be carried out more effectively.

The fact that other member countries have not signed or ratified the Convention and its fundamental principles should not be cause for discouragement or regress. It should rather strengthen our determination to defend human rights in accordance with the Convention.

The System has two institutions for matters relating to the implementation of commitments adopted ​​by the states: the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

The Commission is a body established by the Charter of the Organization, and its main goal is “to promote the observance and protection of human rights and to serve as a consultative organ of the Organization in these matters." The proceedings of the Commission shall extend to all OAS member states by the mere fact of having ratified the Charter, and therefore, the Commission will continue to have these competencies in Venezuela. Meanwhile, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights is a body established by the Convention and, among its competencies, it may hear cases submitted by states parties to it. In the case of Venezuela, the Court has jurisdiction for cases that occurred prior to September 10, 2013.

The head of the OAS recalled that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela remaining within the Inter-American System of Human Rights is essential for its strengthening and, hence, for the better protection of human rights in the region.

Finally, Insulza pledged the Organization's efforts to continue promoting the universalization process in the Organization’s member states.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-338/13