Press Release

IACHR Welcomes Approval of Legislative Amendment that Could Facilitate the Use of Friendly Settlements in Bolivia

August 2, 2017

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Guatemala City - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) welcomes the passage by the Bolivian legislature of Law No. 936 of May 3, 2017, which amends Law No. 708 on conciliation and arbitration in Bolivia. The IACHR commends the fact that the new law includes, in Article 135, a paragraph on friendly settlements in the context of the inter-American human rights system, and that it creates the State Council on Friendly Settlements in the Area of Human Rights (CESADH).

The CESADH will be an advisory, multi-institutional entity made up of the Attorney General’s Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Justice and Institutional Transparency. The IACHR observes that the legislation clarifies the functions of the public agencies responsible for analyzing and possibly signing friendly settlement agreements to enter into interest-based negotiations, once the Attorney General’s Office has issued a technical report. This process is consistent with negotiation techniques and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.

The Commission has identified as a best practice the establishment of legislative mechanisms that enable the negotiation of friendly settlement agreements and compliance with the decisions of the bodies of the inter-American human rights system, including friendly settlement agreements ratified by the IACHR. The Commission has also identified some challenges, such as the lack of action protocols for the negotiation and implementation of agreements; the lack of mechanisms to assess compliance; the fact that institutions involved in the execution of the agreements are not at the negotiating table; the need to create mechanisms for cooperation between federal entities and regional governments, in the case of federal States, to ensure coordination in the negotiation and implementation of the agreements; and the need to adopt domestic laws to enable  the negotiation of and full compliance with the commitments undertaken in friendly settlement agreements.

Based on the foregoing, the Commission considers that the approval of the legislation on friendly settlements in the State of Bolivia is a significant step toward the establishment of these types of mechanisms in the region.

The IACHR invites the Bolivian State to continue developing a policy favorable to friendly settlements and to use this mechanism to provide redress to victims of human rights violations who turn to the IACHR’s individual petition and case system. At the same time, the IACHR urges the State to issue regulations as soon as possible on the functioning of the State Council on Friendly Settlements in the Area of Human Rights.

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 and to defend 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. 113/17