Amnesty: Ongoing Political Unrest A Threat To Rule Of Law In Venezuela

London-based rights group Amnesty International warned in a report released Tuesday that Venezuela risks one of the worst threats to the rule of law in decades if the different political forces in the country do not commit to fully respecting human rights.

The Amnesty report titled 'Venezuela: Human Rights at risk amid protests' documents allegations of human rights violations and abuses committed in the context of the massive public demonstrations since early February.

"The country runs the risk of descending into a spiral of violence unless steps are taken to bring the conflicting parties around the table. This can only happen if both sides fully respect human rights and the rule of law. Unless this happens, the death toll will continue to rise with ordinary people bearing the brunt," said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

So far 37 people have lost their lives and more than 550 have been injured including at least 120 through the use of firearms. According to figures released by the Office of the Attorney General on 27 March 2,157 have been detained during the protests. The vast majority has been released but continue to face charges, the rights group said.

Amnesty said it has received several complaints indicating that Venezuela's security forces have resorted to the excessive use of force, including the use of live fire, and even torture when dealing with protesters.

The Amnesty report also documents human rights abuses committed by pro-government groups, protesters and unidentified individuals.

"All allegations of human rights violations and abuses have to be promptly and thoroughly investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice. The political crisis risks undermining any progress made in recent years in standing up for the rights of those most marginalized in the country," said Guevara Rosas.

In its press release, Amnesty International called on the Venezuelan government to commit to a Human Rights National Plan. The group said this plan should be the result of a national dialogue and include all parties and civil society.

"The government and the opposition must commit to peaceful means of resolving the political crisis, instructing supporters that violence and confrontational rhetoric that could incite violence will not be tolerated. The international community, including neighboring countries, must foster constructive dialogue in the country," said Erika Guevara Rosas.

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