Press Release

IACHR Condemns Killing of Human Rights Defender in Bolivia

June 26, 2012

Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the killing in Bolivia of Daguimar Ribera Ortiz, councilor in the municipality of Guayamerín, Beni Department, Bolivia.

According to information received by the IACHR, on June 19, 2012, Daguimar Ribera Ortiz was killed with two shots to the head by two masked persons. The information available indicates that Daguimar Ribera Ortiz was elected councilor for the citizen association "Beni First" (Primero el Beni) and was an active participant in the activities organized by the Association of Mayors and Councilors of Bolivia, investigating alleged acts of corruption in the municipality of Guayamerín.

The IACHR calls to mind that it is the State's obligation to investigate such acts of its own accord and to punish those responsible. The Commission urges the State of Bolivia to investigate and legally clarify this crime, and to punish the perpetrators and masterminds.

In the Second Report on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders in the Americas, the Commission expressed its concern on the reprisals against social leaders for filing complaints and/or making public acts of corruption of civil servants.

The IACHR urges the State of Bolivia to open lines of investigation that take into consideration if the murder of Daguimar Ortiz Bank was related to a political reason or if it was in retaliation for her work monitoring acts of corruption in the town of Guayamerín. The Commission also urges the Bolivian government to immediately and urgently adopt all necessary measures to guarantee the rights to life, integrity and security of human rights defenders who perform their work in public office, in social leadership and/or in an elected position.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 76/12