Colombian mayor sues Venezuela over human rights violations

Colombia Reports

Donamaris Ramirez (Photo: Cucuta city government)

The mayor of a Colombian city located on the border with Venezuela sued Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) for violating Colombians’ human rights.

The complaint was formally issued in a document last week by Cucuta Mayor Donamaris Ramirez who, along with Human Rights Ombudsman Jorge Armando, went before the IACHR to call for protection measures for thousands of Colombian deportees who had been forced out of Venezuela during an ongoing border crisis.

“Working in the name of and in favor of all the Colombians who feel victimized by the Venezuelan government, by means of this letter I denounce Mr. Nicolas Maduro, Tarek Wiliam and Disdado Cabeello and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for the violation of human rights,” said Ramirez in the document that was obtained by Colombian news magazine Semana.

The mayor also said that Venezuela had violated a number of other international agreements, including the International Pact of Civil and Political Rights and the Convention Against Torture among others.

“The first article of the American Convention of Human Rights was violated against distinguishing, excluding, preferring based on race, color language and national or ethnic origin.”

Ramirez solicited the IACHR, first, to send representatives to monitor the situation and verify that human rights violations had indeed occurred. Second, to move forward investigations against Venezuelan authorities and, third, that the commission guarantee the rights reparations of Colombians who have had their human rights right violated by the Venezuelan government.

Specifically, Ramirez wanted 1,512 children who live in Ureña, Venezuela, to be able to return to school in Cucuta and that the Venezuelan government allow families who had been separated to be reunited. He also asked that Venezuelans employed in the North Santander state capital be allowed to cross the border to work.

Furthermore, Ramirez called for the Colombian authorities to be given access to cross the border to pick up belongings and documents that were not returned to deportees by the Venezuelan National Guard.

Venezuela is home to some 5 million Colombians, some of whom — primarily in the border region — live and work illegally in the neighboring country. On August 18, Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of the border between the Colombian city of Cucuta and the Tachira state of Venezuela, following an attack on Venezuelan security forces that left three soldiers wounded.

Since then, the Venezuelan government has deported more than 1,000 Colombians and 9,000 more have left out of fear for persecution.

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