Press Release

IACHR Urges Bolivia to Guarantee Protesters' Physical Integrity and Security

October 17, 2011

Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) urges the State of Bolivia to guarantee the physical integrity and security of the protesters participating in a march against the construction of a highway through the Indigenous Territory of the Isiboro Sécure National Park (TIPNIS).

Taking into account the excessive use of force by the police in repressing the march on September 25, 2011, the IACHR calls on the State of Bolivia to urgently adopt all necessary measures for the proper protection of all protesters. The IACHR calls to mind that States have an obligation to ensure the security of all persons subject to their jurisdiction by implementing effective preventive measures and actions. While such measures are universal, States should devote particular attention to situations involving the most vulnerable, such as women, children, and adolescents.

The Inter-American Commission reminds the Bolivian State of its duty to control demonstrations within the framework of respect for inter-American human rights standards. Agents may impose reasonable restraints on demonstrators to ensure that protests are peaceful or to contain violence, as well as to disperse demonstrations that become violent or obstructive. However, the actions of the security forces should protect, rather than discourage, the rights to assembly and to protest.

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 matter. 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. 108/11