Press Release

IACHR Wraps up Visit to Bolivia

December 16, 2015

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) carried out a working visit to Bolivia from November 29 to December 2, 2015, with presence in La Paz, Sucre and Tarabuco. The visit was conducted to compile information for the preparation of the IACHR´s first thematic report on human rights and poverty. This was the fourth of a series of visits to be carried out by the Commission to countries of the region to gather information for such thematic report. The Inter-American Commission thanks the Plurinational State of Bolivia for its openness and cooperation provided during the visit. It also thanks the National Union of Institutions for Working Action (Unión Nacional de Instituciones para el Trabajo de Acción, UNITAS) for its help in coordinating the meetings with the civil society organizations and the Office of the General Secretariat of the OAS in Bolivia for the valuable support given to the delegation in La Paz. Finally, the Commission expresses its gratitude to the European Union for the financial contributions which made this visit possible.

This visit was carried out by Commissioner Paulo Vannuchi, who is in charge of the IACHR Unit on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights and is the IACHR Rapporteur for Bolivia. Commissioner Rosa Maria Ortiz joined the delegation during the visit to La Paz, acting as IACHR Rapporteur on the Rights of the Child, with the purpose of compiling information for a thematic report on the existing national systems to guarantee the rights of children and their effectiveness in the region. The Commissioners were accompanied by three human rights specialists from the IACHR´s Executive Secretariat.

In La Paz, the delegation held meetings with authorities from the Foreign Affairs, Justice and Planning Ministries as well as with the Solicitor General; in Sucre, the delegation met with representatives of the Supreme Court of Justice; of the Autonomous Government of the Department of Chuquisaca; and with the Mayor of Sucre.  Meetings were also held with representatives of several civil society organizations, including UNITAS, Centro de Estudios para el Desarrollo Laboral y Agrario (CEDLA), Centro de Estudios Jurídicos e Investigación Social (CEJIS), Centro de Información y Desarrollo de la Mujer (CIDEM), Defensa de los Niños Internacional Sección Bolivia (DNI-B), Red Nacional de Asentamientos Humanos (RENASEH), Comunidad de Derechos Humanos, Fundación Jubileo, Agua Sustentable, Nueva Visión, Caritas Pastoral Boliviana, Sindicato de Trabajadoras del Hogar, Centro Juana Azurduy, Programa de Coordinación en Salud Integral (PROCOSI), Instituto Politécnico Tomás Katari (IPTK) and Fundación Acción Cultural Loyola (ACLO). Meetings were also held with the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights in Bolivia (OHCHR) and the Representation of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The IACHR received detailed information concerning important progress in the reduction of poverty and extreme poverty in Bolivia, as well as that concerning the implementation of several initiatives and public policies for this purpose, such as "Juancito Pinto", "Juana Azurduy", "Mi Agua", among others. It is worth mentioning that the delegation also took note of statements by civil society organizations according to which despite the adoption of a social protection framework, structural difficulties have hindered its implementation, and thus, the reduction of poverty and the creation of the necessary conditions to ensure real equality. The IACHR appreciates the input provided by representatives of the Bolivian Government and of civil society, and reaffirms its full disposition to serve as a means for the constructive dialogue among all the stakeholders involved, aiming at further progress towards the fully guarantee of economic, social and cultural rights in Bolivia.

In Sucre, the delegation traveled to the Community of Jatun Churicana in Tarabuco, in the Department of Chuquisaca, where it was able to make direct contact with the cosmovision and cultural heritage of the community, as well as participate in their traditional rites. While the delegation observed the State's efforts to ensure adequate housing for members of the community, it also considers that some challenges remain, particularly, those regarding the lack of urban basic services, such as access to health facilities, drinking water, electricity, and emergency telephone services.

The Commission also traveled to the neighborhood "Señor de Maica" at the Azari Community in District 5 of the Municipality of Sucre, where it received numerous testimonies from residents who were compelled to migrate from rural to urban areas, in search of employment opportunities. Among the challenges faced by the inhabitants of this community, the IACHR acknowledged the difficulties encountered when trying to access health services, drinking water, employment opportunities and a marketplace for commercializing agricultural products, as well as the existing limitations in regards to the infrastructure of educational premises.  During its presence there, the delegation witnessed the construction of a drainage system for the community, which was being done as a joint initiative by the inhabitants of the place with the support of city authorities.

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. 148/15