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Elections on 23 November 2008 in Venezuela

Written declaration No. 416 | Doc. 11737 | 02 October 2008

Mr Kastriot ISLAMI, Albania, SOC ; Mr Pedro AGRAMUNT, Spain, EPP/CD ; Ms Doris BARNETT, Germany, SOC ; Lord Tim BOSWELL, United Kingdom, EDG ; Mr Jean-Guy BRANGER, France ; Mr Christopher CHOPE, United Kingdom, EDG ; Ms Minodora CLIVETI, Romania ; Mr Vlad CUBREACOV, Republic of Moldova ; Mr Arcadio DÍAZ TEJERA, Spain ; Mr Detlef DZEMBRITZKI, Germany ; Ms Angelika GRAF, Germany, SOC ; Mr Andres HERKEL, Estonia, EPP/CD ; Mr Gerd HÖFER, Germany ; Ms Sinikka HURSKAINEN, Finland, SOC ; Ms Krista KIURU, Finland, SOC ; Mr Eduard KUKAN, Slovak Republic ; Mr Pietro MARCENARO, Italy, SOC ; Ms Federica MOGHERINI REBESANI, Italy, SOC ; Mr Johannes PFLUG, Germany ; Mr Christoph STRÄSSER, Germany, SOC ; Mr Robert WALTER, United Kingdom, EDG ; Mr David WILSHIRE, United Kingdom, EDG

The signatories of the present declaration,

1. Considering the administrative decision of the Comptroller General of Venezuela to ban participation of popular opposition candidates for posts of governor and mayor in the elections to be held on 23 November 2008, in clear breach of the Venezuelan Constitution and international agreements such as the Inter-American Democratic Charter;
2. Considering that this arbitrary decision will prevent voters from electing the candidates of their choice, which constitutes a fresh violation of democracy and pluralism;
3. Considering that the actions of the Venezuelan Government against opposition candidates and human rights protection figures, such as the arbitrary expulsion from Venezuela of the director of Human Rights Watch, José Miguel Vivanco, and his assistant, Daniel Wilkinson, represent a serious violation of freedom;

Believe that urgent steps must be taken to remind the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela that it has a duty to respect and ensure respect for the rules of democracy, freedom of expression and freedom of opinion, in keeping with its obligations under the American Convention on Human Rights, of which it is a signatory, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.