[JURIST] The Venezuelan National Assembly [official website, in Spanish] on Thursday gave final approval to a bill [text, PDF, in Spanish] banning violent toys and video games. Those who violate the law could face fines and prison terms of three to five years, as well as the confiscation of merchandise. The law stipulates that Venezuelan government will use funds from fines towards educational programs, and that private and public media will have to apply percentages of their programming and publicity to advance the purpose of the law in fostering a culture of non-violence. According to the Patria Para Todos (PPT) [party website, in Spanish], the party that proposed the bill, the law will reduce violence in the country by protecting the development of children who can become predisposed to aggression by playing with such toys. The PPT maintains that the law echoes principles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child [materials], as well as Articles 43 and 46 in the Venezuelan Constitution [text, PDF] about fostering a culture of non-violence in the country. The law will enter into effect three months after publication in the Official Gazette and will be administered by the Institute for the Defense of People's Access to Goods and Services (INDEPABIS) [official website, in Spanish].
The Venezuelan National Assembly unanimously gave preliminary approval [press release, in Spanish; JURIST report] to the bill in August. Voting on the bill coincided with a study released by the Civil Council for Public Safety and Penal Justice (CCSP) [advocacy website, in Spanish], a Mexican think tank, which reported that Caracas is the second most violent city worldwide. The report received much coverage [El Universal report, in Spanish; El Nacional report] in Venezuelan media. Spokesperson for Civil Watch Association for Security, Defense, and Armed Forces [advocacy website, in Spanish] Rocio San Miguel characterized [BBC report, in Spanish] the law as sterile in light of recent statements by national leaders inciting civilians to be prepared for armed conflict.