The European Lawyers Foundation (ELF) has been actively involved in Venezuela since 2015. That year, two missions to Venezuela were conducted. In both missions, ELF representatives had the opportunity to meet with relevant Venezuelan stakeholders and to check on the spot the situation relating to the rule of law. The situation in Venezuela has deteriorated rapidly, with the almost complete suppression of the rule of law and the systematic violation of human rights by the government.
As a result of the deteriorating situation, ELF decided to implement a project with the aim of helping Venezuelans in the re-establishment of the rule of law. The project ran from 1 May 2016 to 30 April 2017, and its main outcome has been the production of an Action plan for the re-establishment of the rule of law in Venezuela. The action plan, which can be downloaded freely on this website, contains the necessary steps to be undertaken to re-establish the independence of the judiciary, which has been identified as the biggest obstacle in the way of re-establishing the rule of law. Only with a proper separation of powers and an independent judiciary will human rights be respected and criminal justice work. The action plan has been presented to relevant stakeholders in Caracas, including members of the National Assembly, in February 2017.
The project also focused on communicating the situation of Venezuela in Europe. ELF met with various Members of the European Parliament to present the project, and to call the attention of the European Parliament to Venezuela’s situation. We also similarly met with representatives of the European External Action Service. Last but not least, our project engaged the European legal profession. The President of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) sent a letter to the Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro, urging him to stop harassing identified Venezuelan lawyers.
Even though this project has now been completed, ELF remains ready to continue helping Venezuela to return to the rule of law and respect for human rights.