Yordy Tobias Bermúdez GutierrezCases
- Case status
- Location of case in SG report
- Relevant SG report
- Year of the report
- From Country
- Country Geolocation
- Country Geolocation (linked Cases)
- From Region
- UN body that raised the case prior to the SG report
- UN Special Procedures: Thematic
- Dates of prior UN action
- 29 January 2021; 11 February 2021; 18 February 2021; 11 March 2021
- Type of record
- Named individual
- Was the victim a foreign national?
- Was the victim a minor?
- Individual's/organization's activity
members of the NGO Azul Positivo, which provides humanitarian aid to communities in Zulia, in particular people living with HIV/AIDS
- Type of rights defended
- Economic/social rights
- Was the victim a civil servant, member of the security forces or of the judiciary?
- Reported trigger of reprisal
implementing partners of the UN
- Engagement with UN body
- Type of attempted engagement
- Dates of mentioned reprisals
- 12 January 2021
- Location of mentioned reprisals
- Maracaibo, Venezuela
- Reprisal information
- On 11 February 2021, mandate holders addressed the arbitrary detention of five members of the NGO Azul Positivo, which provides humanitarian aid to communities in Zulia, in particular people living with HIV/AIDS. Messrs. Johan Manuel León Reyes, Yordy Tobias Bermúdez Gutierrez, Layners Christian Gutierrez Díaz, Alejandro Gómez Di Maggio, and Luis Ramón Ferrebuz Canbrera were detained in connection to their work as implementing partners of the UN (VEN 1/2021). On 12 January 2021, officers of the Directorate General of Military Counter-Intelligence (DGCIM) reportedly visited the Azul Positivo’s headquarters in Maracaibo, interrogated the staff, and seized computers, benefit cards of the humanitarian program, the database of beneficiaries, and cell phones. Subsequently, Messrs. León Reyes, Mr. Bermúdez, Gutiérrez Díaz, and Gómez Di Maggio were reportedly taken to the DGCIM state headquarters without access to legal assistance or communication with their families during that time. Later that day, Mr. Ferrebuz, was reportedly arrested at his home.
- On 14 January 2021, the military declared that it did not have jurisdiction to hear the case, which was transferred to the Criminal Judicial Circuit of the State of Zulia. The Prosecutor confirmed the charges of “fraudulent handling of smart cards or similar instruments,” “money laundering” and “association to commit a crime” for which the five defendants had been detained (VEN 1/2021). According to information received by OHCHR, Azul Positivo’s legal defense team was intimidated and harassed while the five members were detained, and the privacy and confidentiality of their communications were not guaranteed.
- Types of reprisals suffered
- Charge/Investigation/Prosecution: Charge/Investigation/Prosecution - General
- Detention/Imprisonment: Detention/Imprisonment - General
- Family/friends/acquaintances targeted
- Property damage/raid/search/confiscation
- Alleged/likely perpetrators
- State actors
- Was the reprisal based on new legislation?
- Does the report make general comment about country’s environment for engagement with UN?
- Further case development
On 29 January 2021, multiple UN actors,73 including the Spokesperson of the Secretary-General, expressed deep concern about the detention of the five members of Azul Positivo, noting it was an important partner of the UN. The Spokesperson informed that they were following up with the authorities and had requested their immediate release.74 On 18 February 2021, special procedures mandate holders publicly welcomed their release on 10 February 2021, while regretting that charges had not been dropped.75 On 18 February 2021, the Government responded to mandate holders, rejecting the press release and indicating that the legal proceedings against members of Azul Positivo respected their constitutional right to due process and a fair trial.76 120. In her 11 March 2021 oral update to the Human Rights Council, the High Commissioner for Human Rights underscored the intimidation, harassment and criminalization of multiple sectors of civil society and restrictions on the operations of NGOs, highlighting the charges related to anti-terrorism legislation and money laundering facing the five individuals of Azul Positivo for having provided assistance as part of the UN’s Humanitarian Response Plan. She noted that more NGOs are the object of investigations on similar grounds.77 In her June 2021 report to the Human Rights Council, the High Commissioner noted that these events generated a climate of fear and led to the suspension of humanitarian assistance programmes.
- Government response dates
- 18 February 2021; 26 August 2021
- Government response content
On 18 February 2021, the Government responded to mandate holders, rejecting the press release and indicating that the legal proceedings against members of Azul Positivo respected their constitutional right to due process and a fair trial.
On 26 August 2021, the Government responded to the note verbale sent in connection to the present report, stating that none of the cases included can be linked to intimidation and reprisals for cooperation with the UN. The Government categorically rejected the way in which the report has approached the cases as alleged reprisals for cooperation with the UN when most of them are allegations and assertions without any legal basis, including those made in connection with the fact-finding mission. Regarding the case of NGOs Azul Positivo, the Government referred to its firm and exhaustive reply provided to special procedures mandate holders on the case. Furthermore, the Government informed that a process of dialogue is currently underway with NGOs working on human rights and humanitarian law to exchange ideas and opinions on their work and the possible obstacles they have faced, and with the cooperation of the OHCHR Office in Venezuela.
- Was the case raised by a State at the UN?
- Is the country cited for a "pattern of reprisal" in the context of this case?
- Is a pattern of reprisals mentioned otherwise in the context of this case?
- Does the report cite "self-censorship" as an issue in the context of this case?
- How many times has the case been followed up in subsequent SG reports?
- In which SG report was this case followed up on? 0
- Follow up information provided in SG report 0
According to information received, as of 30 April 2022, the criminal proceedings against the five members of Azul Positivo are still ongoing
- Followup Trends 0
- Stayed same
- Did the government respond? 0