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OHCHR report 2012 OHCHR Report 2012 (PDF)
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OHCHR in Bolivia (2008-2009)


Human rights context

 
Bolivia has experienced significant social and political unrest in recent years. While the landslide election of President Evo Morales in December 2005, a national referendum and the opening of a Constituent Assembly to rewrite the country’s Constitution have all led to a new political climate, the processes underway have revealed social and political fault lines between the resource-rich lowland departments and the largely poor highland regions of the country, as well as between the traditional political classes and parties and social movements. Those differences are threatening to undermine the Constituent Assembly process,making activities aimed at strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights in the country all the more urgent.

Bolivia has ratified all seven major international human rights instruments, including the Optional Protocols to the Convention on All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Bolivia has also ratified the Statute of Rome, and the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention (No.169) of the International Labour Organization. The most recent country visit to Bolivia was by the Special Rapporteur on the right to food. The Special Rapporteur on indigenous peoples visited the country from 26 November to 6 December 2007.

Human rights mechanisms have raised as issues of concern the situation of extreme poverty in which the majority of Bolivians live; the need to address the chronic levels of malnutrition among Bolivia’s young children; the need to improve access to land for peasant communities and rural families and to recognize traditional forms of land tenure and restitution of lands of indigenous communities; the need to address the effects of structural adjustment policies in a human rights framework; the need to integrate indigenous peoples into Bolivian society, especially into political decision-making processes; domestic violence against women and children, especially in the form of sexual exploitation; impunity and shortcomings in the administration of justice; and the need to mainstream human rights education and disseminate human rights information.

The High Commissioner visited the country in February 2007, and an agreement establishing the new Country Office in Bolivia was signed between the High Commissioner and President Morales and then ratified by the Parliament in July 2007. OHCHR Bolivia’s mandate will be to ensure that national and local institutions have adequate knowledge, understanding and skills to identify human rights concerns in the area of administration of justice and to develop a mix of legislative and policy measures to address human rights concerns effectively; that civil society, vulnerable groups and the general public know and can claim their rights, especially with regard to economic, social and cultural rights and combating racial discrimination; and that national and local human rights institutions are supported so that they can fulfil their obligations; The mandate also includes assisting State institutions, such as the Attorney General’s Office, in their efforts to combat impunity by improving the criminal prosecution system in a way that leads to a proper investigation of the events of 2003 and other violations of human rights, and to ensure redress to victims.
 

Achievements

 
Given the fact that this is a new OHCHR Office, there are no achievements to build upon from the previous biennium. However, OHCHR played a central role in the indigenous component of UNDP’s Human Rights Strengthening Programme (HURIST), establishing a UN Country Team consultative mechanism with indigenous peoples. OHCHR Bolivia participates in the inter-agency group created to assist this mechanism. By the end of 2007, OHCHR should have concluded all necessary administrative and logistical arrangements, including the recruitment and deployment of staff, for the full functioning of the office. During 2007, OHCHR Bolivia established contacts with international partners and most national stakeholders, and identified priority areas of cooperation.

Priorities

 
OHCHR’s assistance and technical support will be essential in ensuring that a rights-based approach that complies with international human rights standards is adopted in legislation, including the new Constitution, and reflected in the programmes and practices of all relevant State institutions. Strategic partnerships will be established with the Government, State institutions, the UN Country Team and international and national partners and leading human rights defenders, with the High Commissioner’s Report on the activities of the Office as a starting point for dialogue with each institution, on the challenges that need to be addressed. OHCHR will work with the Ombudsman’s Office (Defensoría del Pueblo) on judicial reform and State programmes designed to reduce impunity, vulnerability and exclusion, and reinforce the rule of law.

The Office will also assist civil society organizations in using treaty body and special procedures recommendations and in submitting information to these mechanisms. OHCHR will also provide technical assistance to the Government in submitting reports and implementing the recommendations made by these bodies.

Contact Information

Headquarters

Field Operations and Technical Cooperation Division
Geneva, Switzerland

Americas Section
Tel. + 41 22 928 9167
Geneva, Switzerland

Field

Tel: (591) 2 279 9756 / 4486 (central)
Fax:(591) 2 279 9756/102
Email: oacnudh-bolivia@ohchr.org

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