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UN Human Rights Chief visits Bolivia

During a final press conference in La Paz, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said “The Constitution of the Plurinational State of Bolivia represents an historic step forward that sends a clear message to other nations in the continent and beyond.”

UN Human Rights Chief Pillay visits the ancient ruins of Tiwanaku in Bolivia © OHCHR Bolivia/ Nicolas DavidPillay welcomed the legal, political and institutional reforms adopted by the Bolivian Government to end discrimination and exclusion of indigenous people and other vulnerable groups, but warned most of them “continue to suffer from extreme poverty and exclusion.”

The High Commissioner highlighted the importance of ensuring that Bolivian laws fully comply with international human rights law and standards. “I encourage you to make full use of the services of my office in Bolivia which will be ready to help in this endeavour.”

The UN Human Rights office (OHCHR) in Bolivia was established in 2007 to provide technical assistance to State institutions and civil society organizations, promote human rights, and monitor and report on the status of human rights in the country. Its mandate was extended in May 2010 for a further three years, until 2013.

OHCHR representative in Bolivia Denis Racicot said that, since its creation, “our country office has been providing advice and technical support to the Government, the Plurinational Assembly, and other State institutions. We have also been actively engaged with multiple civil society organizations and groups representing indigenous peoples and Afro Bolivian communities.”

The OHCHR Bolivia office is also engaged in the preparation of a diagnostic and action plan on the situation of racism and discrimination in the country, as recommended at the anti-racism Durban Review Conference in 2009.   

Compliance with the universal principles and values embodied in international law was one of the key messages brought to Bolivia by High Commissioner Pillay.

During the course of her five-day mission, Pillay held talks with President Evo Morales, the Ministers of Justice, Foreign Affairs, Transparency, and Finance, as well as other key government officials and representatives of the National Assembly and the Judiciary.

The UN human rights chief also met with the Ombudsman, Civil Society organisations working on human rights issues, indigenous representatives and authorities, representatives of the Afro Bolivian community, and victims of torture.

19 November 2010