Draft:Nizar El Fakih

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Nizar El Fakih
Retrato Nizar El Fakih.jpg
Nizar El Fakih, Director of Proiuris, during a forum organized by Proiuris at the Andrés Bello Catholic University
Personal details
Born(1988-08-26)26 August 1988
Valencia, Venezuela
OccupationLawyer and Human Rights Defender

Nizar El Fakih (Valencia, August 26th 1988) is a Venezuelan lawyer, specialized in human rights, professor and general director of the NGO Proiuris.

He has legally assisted Venezuelan leaders and authorities between 2014 and 2017, as the leader of Voluntad Popular, Yon Goicoechea; the former mayor of El Hatillo, David Smolansky and the lawyer and journalist, Braulio Jatar.

He is the winner of the 2016 Human Rights Award, a special mention given by the Government of Canada and co-recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Activism Prize of Amnesty International, among others.

El Fakih has an specialization in Public Law summa cum laude  from Universidad Católica Andrés Bello (UCAB), a Magna cum laude L.L.M. in International Human Rights Law[1]  from the Notre Dame University (United States), and is currently studying an Mid-carreer Master in Public Administration at Harvard University (United States).

Early life[edit]

Nizar El Fakih was born in Valencia, the industrial capital of Venezuela in a family of Lebanese origin. His grandparents arrived in that South American country in the 1940s. His parents are businessmen. El Fakih discovered his interest in the study of law in his early life, guided by his altruistic and justice spirit and by the advice of his immigrant grandmother who feared that her grandson would live the same needs she had to if he did not dedicate himself to university studies.

Student leadership[edit]

It is in 2006, during his law studies at the Andrés Bello Catholic University (UCAB) when he discovers his passion for the defense of Human Rights, after hearing the case of the Faddoul brothers, a kidnap and multiple murder that shocked Venezuelan society. From that moment on, he actively supports the call for student marches in defense of the right to life.

Likewise, a year later he became involved with the organization of protests from his position as part of the student leadership of his university, against the arbitrary closure of the Venezuelan television station Radio Caracas Televisión (RCTV) by the government of Hugo Chávez.

By that time, he had achieved wide support from his colleagues that led him in 2009 to be elected student representative before the Faculty of Law Council of his university[2], as well as Coordinator of the Student Center of the Law School; later he was selected by the students as General Secretary of the Congress of Student Representatives of the UCAB[3][4], from this position, he led with his classmates the student mobilizations in Caracas against the constitutional amendment in 2009, which contemplated the indefinite presidential election and that was finally approved through a referendum[5]. He was also chief of the UCAB's delegation to the Latin American Model of United Nations in 2009.[6]El Fakih graduated as a lawyer in 2010.

Beginning in the legal carreer[edit]

While studying law at the Andres Bello Catholic University (UCAB), he served as legal assistant on Public Law at Baker & McKenzie's office in Caracas, since 2008 and until 2010.

In 2010, he started working as a lawyer and professor-researcher at the Center for Human Rights of the UCAB, from which he would later occupy the position of coordinator of the legal assistance team until 2016.[7] [8]

Parallel to his work at the aforementioned Center for Human Rights, he began to teach at the university's law school for 5 years until January 2016[9]. He also worked as an Associate Attorney in the Department of Public Law in Araquereyna law firm until that same year.[10]

Human rights advocacy[edit]

Since then, El Fakih initiates a route in favor of justice from his practice as a lawyer that leads him to intensively monitor the violations committed by the Government of Nicolás Maduro. His work to demonstrate the disrespect for the integrity of dozens of protesters who clashed with the Venezuelan government, during the street protests in 2014 and in which 44 people[11] were killed, earned him, Nizar El Fakih, recognition as one of the main defenders of human rights in Venezuela.

When I began to see in Venezuela a narrative that tended to ignore the other for their ideas, for their convictions, that connected me to my roots and I felt the need to work for civil liberties and democracy

— Nizar El Fakih

From that moment, the work of this lawyer intensified. The experience he had acquired in his professional practice, served to serve as a consultant and legal representative of dozens of protesters and some leaders of the Venezuelan opposition, among which are:

Former presidential candidate and current political prisoner, Leopoldo López; Mayor of  El Hatillo, David Smolansky; President of the Commission for Social Development, deputy Miguel Pizarro[12]; deputy Manuela Bolívar; deputy to the South American Parliament, Adriana Pichardo; Milton Friedman Award 2007 Yon Goicoechea[13][14]; Human Rights Defenders Rodrigo Diamanti[15] and Francisco Marquez[16], among others.

My team and I work under the premise that beyond all injustices there is always a light or a truth that will come to light through our effort, no matter how difficult it is, we must work for justice to prevail

— Nizar El Fakih, Interview by Amnesty International

On 2014, El Fakih obtained a specialization in Public Law summa cum laude from the Andres Bello Catholic University and a year later he obtained a title as a specialist in Constitutional Law of that same university.

As a collaborator of the National Assembly of Venezuela, he supported the drafting of the National Amnesty and Reconciliation Law, approved in March 2016[17] [18][19][20]and whose purpose was to lay the foundations for national reconciliation and social peace through the amnesty of the facts considered crimes, faults or infractions that are indicated in that law and other measures there contemplated.

Likewise, El Fakih collaborated in the writing of the law to overcome the humanitarian crisis in the health sector, approved in June 2016 and which seeks to establish mechanisms for the National Executive, in coordination with the other public powers, to solve the national crisis of health, fulfilling its role as guarantor of the right to life, at a time when Venezuela is going through an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, as declared by the UN.

His work with Proiuris[edit]

In 2014, under this premise and to respond to a significant number of citizens who were violating their rights in Venezuela, El Fakih, then 26 years old, and along with other colleagues creates the bases of the non-governmental organization, Proiuris.

The organization's main focus is personal freedom, we daily monitor the detentions that are carried out nationwide for the exercise of rights in any context, meaning that our work is not only reduced to arrests in protests. We also seek to help people through advice or national and international legal assistance and provide support to other NGOs in legal matters on human rights.

— Nizar El Fakih, Amnesty International

The work of El Fakih and the NGO Proiuris takes place in parallel to a series of complaints from national and international organizations and organizations about the disrespect for human rights in Venezuela. He is the general director of Proiuris, since June 2014 to the present.[21][22][23]

Participation in International Organizations[edit]

The work of this jurist has led him to explain the recurrent violations of Human Rights in Venezuela, in different international organizations.

In 2014, he was a guest speaker at the Summit of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) held in Caracas[24]

Between 2015 and 2017 he was a speaker at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights whilst representing the Venezuelan Prison Observatory at the hearings about Venezuelan prisons and the request for provisional measures in favor of 13,000 people deprived of liberty.[25]

At the same time, between 2014 and 2016, he participated in hearings on Freedom of Expression, the situation of Human Rights Defenders[26] and on the general situation of Human Rights in Venezuela, organized by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Washington D.C. In 2017, he attended the precautionary measures working meetings.

Between 2014 and 2016 he was a guest speaker at the United Nations, Human Rights Council, at the Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions. In 2015, he was a guest speaker for the first Consultation by UN Special Rapporteur for the situation of Human Rights Defenders.

In 2015, he served as a guest speaker for the first consultation of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.

Awards and recognitions[edit]

Since August 2015 and until 2020, he is a member of the Global Shaper of the World Economic Forum (WEF), a team of leaders from different sectors (entrepreneurs, non-profit activists, businessmen, artists, among others) who dedicate themselves to their communities and they carry out projects that have a positive impact on society.[27]

Just in 2015, he received Award for Outstanding Activism by Amnesty International[28], a Medal of Honor Award granted by the Venezuelan Bar Association[29] and an Award for contribution in the improvement of Human Rights granted by the Andres Bello Catholic University.

Later, in 2016, the Government of Canada granted him a Human Rights Award, special mention[30][31] and in 2017, the Center for Civil & Human Rights of the University of Notre Dame, granted him the Rita Bahr Scholarship[32].              


- The right to personal integrity in Venezuela[33], 2014-2016 annual report of the Programa Venezolano de Educación-Acción en Derechos Humanos (Provea)

- Freedom of opinion and expression, as a Human Right, 2016.

- The Human Right to freedom of assembly and demonstration, 2016.

Interviews and collaborations[edit]

El Fakih has had multiple interviews and collaborations with the international media and NGOs on addressing the Venezuelan political and human rights situation. The New York Times[34], The Wall Street Journal[35][36], The Washington Post[37], BBC[38], Financial Times[39], El Nuevo Herald[40], La Nacion[41], NTN24[42][43][44], El Mundo[45] and many others.


  1. ^ "LL.M. Class of 2018". University of Notre Dame. 13 June 2018.
  2. ^ "Resultados de las elecciones estudiantiles". UCAB Noticias. 29 May 2009. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
  3. ^ Martínez, Luis (16 February 2016). "La lucha de Nizar El Fakih". El Ucabista Magazine. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  5. ^ "Oposición realiza acto de apoyo a Oswaldo Álvarez Paz en la Plaza Alfredo Sadel (+ Fotos y video)". Noticias24. 29 April 2010. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  6. ^ Ferreira, Sergio. "Nizar El Fakir: "El proceso de selección busca ser bastante exhaustivo"". Universidad Católica Andrés Bello. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  7. ^ Oropeza, Valentina (3 July 2014). "Deterioration of public institutions". Latinamerica Press. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  8. ^ "La Lucha de Nizar El Fakih". El Ucabista Magazine. 16 February 2016. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  9. ^ "Comunicado de la Escuela de Derecho de la Ucab". Issuu. 5 March 2014. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
  10. ^ "ARAQUEREYNA". araquereyna2.rssing.com. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  11. ^ Dávila, Daniela (September 12, 2015). "28 de los 44 muertos en protestas de 2014 recibieron disparos". Runrun.es. Retrieved September 17, 2018.
  12. ^ "Pizarro consignó pruebas de ataque a caravana en Petare". 800 Noticias. November 23, 2015. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  13. ^ Moreno, Vanessa (8 July 2017). "MP solicitó libertad plena para Yon Goicoechea". Efecto Cocuyo. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  14. ^ "Abogado de Yon Goicoechea espera acceso a expedientes para preparar la defensa". El Nacional. 2 September 2016. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
  15. ^ "Liberado Rodrigo Diamanti con medidas cautelares". El Nacional. 9 May 2014. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  16. ^ Eileen, García (30 June 2016). "Defensa de dirigentes de VP consignará apelación: Se busca que se revoque su detención". El Cooperante. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  17. ^ "Foro Penal: Amnistía busca frenar persecución política". Foro Penal. 29 January 2016. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  18. ^ "Foro Penal: Ley de Amnistía no es impune y tampoco un cheque en blanco". Foro Penal Venezolano. 29 January 2016. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  19. ^ "Foro Penal Venezolano presenta propuestas de Amnistía al Nuncio Apostólico y a Diputados de la nueva Asamblea Nacional". Foro Penal Venezolano. 28 December 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  20. ^ "Smolansky: Ley de Amnistía abrirá las puertas a la reconciliación nacional". Diario 2001. 28 January 2016. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
  21. ^ Damiano, Daniela (21 July 2017). "DEFENSORES DE DERECHOS COMO EL ABOGADO NIZAR EL FAKIH POR LA VERDAD, JUSTICIA Y REPARACIÓN EN VENEZUELA". Amnistía Internacional. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  22. ^ "Nizar el Fakih: Más de 90 detenidos es el saldo de 4 días de manifestaciones en Venezuela". Proiuris. 7 April 2017. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
  23. ^ "ONG Proiuris sobre examen de la CPI: El trajinar es largo". Noticiero Digital. 9 February 2018. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
  24. ^ Silva, Nadeska (August 2014). "Participación de Unasur en el proceso de diálogo político en la República Bolivariana de Venezuela" (PDF). Politeia. 53: 27.
  25. ^ "Audiencia Pública. Asuntos de Determinados Centros Penitenciarios de Venezuela". Vimeo. 6 February 2015.
  26. ^ "Venezuela: Ataque a Defensores CIDH". Examen ONU Venezuela. 1 January 2014.
  27. ^ "Caracas Hub". Global Shapers Community.
  28. ^ Daniela, Damiano (21 July 2017). "DEFENSORES DE DERECHOS COMO EL ABOGADO NIZAR EL FAKIH POR LA VERDAD, JUSTICIA Y REPARACIÓN EN VENEZUELA". Amnistía Internacional. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  29. ^ "Twitter: Nizar El Fakih". Twitter. 2015-06-23.
  30. ^ "Information on award recipients in previous editions". Embassy of Canada in Venezuela.
  31. ^ "Reconocen lucha por los Derechos Humanos". 28 January 2016. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  32. ^ "Rita Bahr Scholars of 2018". University of Notre Dame.
  33. ^ Situación de los Derechos Humanos en Venezuela 2014 (PDF). Caracas, Venezuela: PROVEA. 2015. p. 02.
  34. ^ "Venezuela: Inmate Dies in State Custody". The New York Times. 13 March 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  35. ^ Kurmanaev, Anatoly (28 June 2017). "Chopper Flight Leaves Venezuelans Mystified". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  36. ^ Kurmanaev, Anatoly (3 May 2017). "Venezuela Attorney General Luisa Ortega Criticizes Regime She Serves". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  37. ^ Krygier, Rachelle (24 June 2017). "In Venezuela, prisoners say abuse is so bad they are forced to eat pasta mixed with excrement". The Washington Post. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  38. ^ Pardo, Daniel (18 February 2015). "Quiénes siguen en prisión a un año de las protestas opositoras en Venezuela". BBC News. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  39. ^ "Human rights fears rise in Venezuela". Financial Times. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  40. ^ "Sobreseídas las causas de 212 detenidos durante las protestas en Venezuela". El Nuevo Herald. 20 August 2014.
  41. ^ Ponsowy, Mori (22 May 2014). "La rebelión de los jóvenes venezolanos". La Nación. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  42. ^ "Abogado Nizar El Fakih asegura que "nunca hubo piso jurídico" para detener e imputar a más de 3.000 personas en Venezuela". NTN24. 21 August 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  43. ^ ""El silencio de la Fiscalía y la Defensoría es una señal de que hubo una ejecución": Nizar El Fakih, director de la ONG Proiuris, sobre caso de Óscar Pérez". NTN24. 22 January 2018. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  44. ^ ""Los funcionarios que violentan a los venezolanos actúan sabiendo que van a encontrar impunidad": Nizar El Fakih, abogado". NTN24. 27 July 2017. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  45. ^ Lozano, Daniel (12 February 2018). "La Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos denuncia el "alarmante" deterioro de la democracia en Venezuela". El Mundo. Retrieved 19 June 2018.