Gold Stained with Blood in Venezuela: Daily Brief

Plus: pressure on Poland to stop hollowing out democracy; NGOs urge European Parliament to postpone trade deals with Vietnam; unlawful strikes kill civilians in Gaza; Europe's largest party group refuses to expel Hungary's anti-democratic ruling party; Kenya's longest-serving leader Daniel arap Moi dies; journalists stage walk-out in UK; culture of impunity should end in Thailand; and Zimbabwe to fulfill its obligation to the right to clean water.

Residents of Venezuela’s southern Bolívar state are suffering horrific abuses at the hands of armed groups who exercise control over gold mines. The armed groups seem to operate largely with government acquiescence, and in some cases government involvement.

French president Emmanuel Macron, who promised to defend the rule of law in the EU, should use his February visit to Poland to champion for the rule of law and democratic institutions that protect human rights.

A letter signed by 26 NGOs urges the European Parliament to vote for postponing consent on trade deals with Vietnam until its government agrees to meet concrete and verifiable benchmarks to protect labour and human rights.

In Gaza, both Israeli and Palestinian armed groups continue to kill and injure civilians during flare-up fighting, in apparent violations of the laws of war. 

The European People's Party, the largest party group in the European Parliament, has again decided not to expel Fidesz, despite the Hungarian ruling party's ongoing assault on democratic norms.

Kenya mourns the death of former President Daniel arap Moi, the longest-serving president of the country, who ruled over 24 years of repression and economic turmoil fueled by runaway corruption.

British journalists walked-out of a government briefing on Monday, after Downing Street barred critical reporters from some of the UK’s major news organisations. 

Thailand’s attorney general has dropped the charges against four park officials for the abduction and murder of a prominent ethnic Karen activist. 

Zimbabwe should commit to protect the wetlands in the country and make sure civilians have access to clean water.