Human Rights Council
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
The present report provides an overview of the human rights situation in the Plurinational State of Bolivia and the work undertaken by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Bolivia during 2012. OHCHR conducted monitoring activities and provided advisory and technical assistance to State institutions and civil society to contribute to the implementation of the country’s international human rights obligations and the recommendations contained in previous reports.
During 2012, progress was registered in relation to the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights, in good measure thanks to cash transfer and other social programmes. In particular, levels of poverty and of extreme poverty and school dropout rates continued to gradually decline. Bolivia completed the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Progress was also noted in public policies to prevent and punish the prevailing practice of racism. Important laws were passed in support of women’s rights, persons with disabilities and refugees, and against human trafficking. Furthermore, the Plurinational Constitutional Court declared that the offence of defamation against civil servants (desacato) was unconstitutional.
While the Government began a participatory process towards drafting a legal framework on the right to consultation of indigenous peoples, the consultation on the proposed highway construction in the Isiboro Sécure National Park and Indigenous Territory (TIPNIS) led to protracted tension between the Government and some indigenous communities. Two marches relating to the TIPNIS controversy and several other social protests were staged throughout the year. The positive steps and measures taken by the new high-level judicial authorities have thus far been insufficient to resolve the longstanding crisis in the criminal justice system, which continues to be prone to corruption, lack of access, delays and a serious deterioration in the situation of prisons. The high rates of violence against women and a rise in the cases of lynching reported by the press were also cause for concern.