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Resolution Rejecting Violence in Bolivia and Calling for Full Respect of the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples in the Plurinational State of Bolivia

  December 18, 2019


CP/RES. 1142 (2268/19)


(Adopted by the Permanent Council at its regular meeting of December 18, 2019)


            TAKING INTO ACCOUNT the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and those of the Charter of the Organization of American States (OAS);

            BEARING IN MIND that international and hemispheric conventions on Human Rights contain the values and principles of liberty, equality and social justice that are intrinsic to democracy.

            HIGHLIGHTING the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which in its Article 1 states that “Indigenous peoples have the right to the full enjoyment, as a collective or as individuals, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms as recognized in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Human Rights Law”; the United Nations International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination; and the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (AG/RES. 2888 (XLVI-O/16), which, in Article XII, states that “Indigenous peoples have the right not to be the object of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, or related intolerance. States shall adopt the preventive and corrective measures necessary for the full and effective protection of that right."
            TAKING NOTE of the deep concerns about the human right situation, including violence in racist and discriminatory ways, expressed by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in its preliminary observations on December 10, 2019, after its visit to Bolivia;

            ALSO NOTING the findings of the IACHR that, following the electoral process a wave of violence occurred, and serious allegations were made of human rights violations, including arbitrary detentions and arrests, massacres and murder, wounding of the civilian population, criminalization and persecution of political opponents, violations of freedom of expression.

            RECALLING the declaration, “Rights of the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas” [AG/DEC. 79(XLIV-O/14)], which reaffirms that progress in promoting and effectively protecting the rights of the indigenous peoples of the Americas is a priority for the OAS;

            RECALLING ALSO Article 9 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter which states that “The elimination of all forms of discrimination, especially gender, ethnic and race discrimination, as well as diverse forms of intolerance, the promotion and protection of human rights of indigenous peoples and migrants, and respect for ethnic, cultural and religious diversity in the Americas contribute to strengthening democracy and citizen participation”;

            RECOGNIZING that, notwithstanding improvements over the last decade, the indigenous peoples in Bolivia have suffered from historic injustices as a result of, inter alia, their colonization and the dispossession of their lands, territories and resources thus preventing them from fully exercising, in particular, their right to development in accordance with their own needs and interests;

            EMPHASIZING THAT the inherent rights of indigenous peoples in Bolivia, which derive from their political, economic, and social structures and from their cultures, spiritual traditions, histories and philosophies, especially their rights to their lands, territories and resources, must be respected and promoted;

            REAFFIRMING that indigenous peoples, in the exercise of their rights, should be free from discrimination of any kind.

            CONSIDERING the importance of eliminating all forms of racial discrimination and/or violence that may emanate therefrom that may affect citizens of the Americas including and especially indigenous peoples, and taking into account the responsibility of States to combat them;

            AFFIRMING that any existing doctrines, policies and practices based on advocating superiority of peoples or individuals on the basis of national origin or racist ideas, religious, ethnic or cultural differences, are scientifically false, legally invalid, morally condemnable and socially unjust;

            WELCOMING the agreement signed between Bolivian authorities and the IACHR to install an independent group of international experts to investigate the acts of violence that occurred between September and December 2019.


  1. CONDEMN the human rights violations and the use of violence against any citizen of Bolivia, especially any and all forms of violence and intimidation against Bolivians of indigenous origin;
  2. FURTHER CONDEMN intolerance of symbols, traditional vestige, religious practices and unequal treatment or mention of any element of indigenous civilization;
  3. UNDERSCORE the need for the authorities of the Plurinational State of Bolivia to fulfil their inherent responsibility as a part of the community of nations to protect all human rights for everyone in Bolivia;
  4. URGE the authorities of the Plurinational State of Bolivia to respect, comply with and effectively implement all their obligations under international law as they apply to indigenous peoples, particularly those related to human rights;
  5. REITERATE the  call made by the Permanent Council of the OAS on November 20, 2019,  in CP/RES. 1140 (2259/19) rev. 1, to all political and civil actors in Bolivia, including all authorities, civil society, the military and security forces, and the general public, to immediately cease from violence, preserve peace, and seek a frank dialogue to promote national democratic reconciliation; and 
  6. CALL UPON the Bolivian authorities to ensure full and unrestricted observance and protection of human rights and to ensure that any violators thereof are held to account, in accordance with international human rights law as reflected in Resolution, CP/RES. 1140 (2259/19) rev. 1, of the OAS Permanent Council.


  1. We stand in solidarity, furthermore, with the Bolivian people, especially with all the victims.  We condemn without hesitation all racial violence or discrimination against any persons or communities, whether indigenous or of any other ethnic or social background, as well as any discourse of hatred or discrimination. We also regret the irregularities in the electoral process that violated the democratic freedom of the Bolivian people. Costa Rica likewise regrets the involvement of military forces and the police in civic and democratic decisions.

    Costa Rica also calls for inclusive dialogue, which requires reflection, a sense of self-critique, moderation, and tolerance. Through that dialogue, it trusts that Bolivia will be able to find the path to peace, democracy, and reconciliation, as well as to promptly holding free elections with full guarantees, in accordance with its political constitution and its laws. In that reconciliation, justice, truth, and reparation for all victims of human rights violations, without any distinction, will also be fundamental.

  2. … We are aware, however, of the reasons behind the presentation of this initiative. Even the most naïve reading of the text of this resolution could distinguish it from the political game played in Bolivia in recent months in the context of October’s general election.

    We must keep things in perspective and not lose sight of the context. This resolution is not genuinely concerned with advancing and protecting the human rights of indigenous peoples in Bolivia. The initiative falls within the framework of the Bolivian electoral process and its consequences.

    Brazil endorses initiatives that are based on noble and unquestionable values and principles. But not initiatives whose purpose is to justify, in an oblique and obscure way, the defense of political interests contrary to the most basic principles of democracy.

    This resolution will not promote the human rights of indigenous peoples in Bolivia, nor is it intended to do so. It will only serve to endorse the false arguments of certain malicious Bolivian political actors that there are racist components in the process that culminated in the departure of the previous government.

    By abstaining from voting on this resolution, Brazil is not standing against the rights of Bolivian indigenous peoples. On the contrary, our intention is to avoid a mistaken correlation being established, for veiled political motives, between the current process of democratic transition in Bolivia and alleged racist components, a thesis that we repudiate in the strongest terms.

    Brazil supports Bolivia's transitional government in its efforts to lead the country to institutional normalcy through free, transparent, and fair elections. We call on all Bolivian political actors to assume their civic role and not entertain imaginary and conspiratorial theories, which only encourage violence, discrimination and hate speech in the population.


  1. Costa Rica rejects any form of violence. We regret the deaths and serious allegations of human rights violations, which must be effectively investigated by the competent authorities. …
  2. If taken separately from the context of democratic political transition under way in Bolivia, the elements contained in this resolution would count on the support of Brazil. …
  3. The delegations of Nicaragua, Colombia, Bolivia, Venezuela and Uruguay announced that they would submit footnotes.

Reference: S-032/19