In light of the ongoing political, economic, social and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela with persistent actions undermining democracy, the rule of law and the respect for human rights, the Council today extended the restrictive measures against Venezuela for one year, until 14 November 2020. The measures include an embargo on arms and on equipment for internal repression as well as a travel ban and an asset freeze on 25 listed individuals in official positions who are responsible for human rights violations and/or for undermining democracy and the rule of law in Venezuela.
At a moment where the talks facilitated by Norway are suspended and there are no signs of a serious political process towards a peaceful and democratic way out of the crisis in Venezuela, the International Contact Group (ICG) recalls that the "status quo" is not an option. The costs for the population of the continued erosion of democracy and the rule of law, political repression, human rights violations and poor living conditions, as well as the unprecedented impact on the region are untenable.
Freedom of expression, in all its forms, is the very essence of democracy. Only with a thriving, free and independent media landscape, we can hold governments, businesses and society at large accountable. And precisely for this fundamental right, far too often, journalists and media workers are attacked, persecuted, harassed, or intimidated for carrying out their work. Most journalists are not wounded in the heat of war coverage, but suffer violence in our immediate surroundings. In 2018 alone, 94 journalists and media staff were killed in work-related incidents as reported by the International Federation of Journalists. Hundreds more have been subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention without ever having been tried in a court.
The International Solidarity Conference on the Venezuelan Refugee and Migrant Crisis held in Brussels on 28-29 October 2019 sent a strong message of support to the Venezuelan refugees and migrants as well as to their host countries and communities in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Joint op-ed signed by the High Representative and Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi and the International Organization for Migration's Director General António Vitorino
4.5 million people have left Venezuela due to political instability, insecurity and economic collapse. This is the fastest growing refugee crisis in Latin American history and has become one of the biggest displacement crises in the world. The European Union stands with the people of Venezuela and is at the forefront of the international mobilisation to solve the crisis in the country and support a political, democratic, peaceful and Venezuelan-owned solution.
The European Union, together with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration, will co-host the International solidarity conference on the Venezuelan refugee and migrant crisis on 28-29 October in Brussels.
It is estimated that, so far, approximately 4.5 million Venezuelans have fled as a result of the political turmoil, socio-economic instability and humanitarian crisis in their country.