Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the activities of her office in the Plurinational State of Bolivia (A/HRC/16/20/Add.2)

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Human Rights Council

Sixteenth session

Agenda item 2

Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General

Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights



During 2010, noteworthy progress was registered in the Plurinational State of Bolivia with respect to legislative developments to implement the extensive range of human rights recognized in the Constitution, as well as important legal, political and institutional reforms aimed at eliminating discrimination and the historical exclusion of indigenous peoples, Afro-Bolivians and other vulnerable groups.

Regarding indigenous peoples, important advances were observed in the field of political rights and representation, and with regard to the strengthening of the indigenous autonomous regions. The right to consultation played a substantial role in the drafting process of the bill on judicial boundaries, but was not instituted or was only partially applied with respect to other legislative and administrative measures that could affect indigenous peoples' interests. The situation of the Guaraní people continues to raise concern.

In a social context still characterized by frequent manifestations of racism, discrimination and intolerance, especially against indigenous peoples, Afro-Bolivians and women, the Law against Racism and All Forms of Discrimination was promulgated, which represents an important and historic advance in the fight against racism and discrimination and responds to various international recommendations. This Law provides guidelines for a strong public policy on this matter. However, it also establishes some restrictions to freedom of expression and the press that should be defined in line with international standards.

Economic, social and cultural rights indicators, such as school attendance and extreme poverty, registered some improvements.

Despite legislative and other measures adopted to address historical problems in the administration of justice, the judicial system remained immersed in a structural crisis that precedes the current Government and is susceptible to political and economic pressures and insufficient access to justice. The transition to the establishment of the new higher courts, whose magistrates will be elected, for the first time in the history of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, by popular vote, did not take place within the schedule initially established by law. Trials for serious human rights violations have shown some progress, but a high level of impunity remained for both current and past cases.

Some cases of deaths, torture and other inhuman, cruel or degrading treatment were reported; in most of the cases responsibility was attributed to the police. In the present report, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights expresses concern for the violence against women, and analyses the phenomena of lynching, the rights of persons deprived of their liberty or those who have been victims of human rights violations by unconstitutional regimes, as well as the situation of human rights defenders and journalists.

The report also provides details about the principal activities undertaken by the High Commissioner's office in the country and includes 10 priority recommendations formulated by the High Commissioner.