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Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination considers report of Bolivia

16 February 2011

Committee on the Elimination
of Racial Discrimination

16 February 2011

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has considered the combined seventeenth through twentieth periodic report of Bolivia on its implementation of the provisions of the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination.

The report of Bolivia was presented by Nilda Copa, the Minister of Justice, Felix Cardena, Vice Minister for Decolonization in the Ministry of Culture, Nelson Marcelo Cox, Director General of Fundamental Rights in the Ministry of Justice and Marianela Paco, President of the Human Rights Commission.

The Minister of Justice said Bolivia faced numerous and difficult challenges, but the State wished to include everyone, both men and women in the life of the State. This was an important process spearheaded by the President, Evo Morales. This process did take time and the new constitution and organic laws were allowing them to build the State together in a participatory manner. They had begun to build social inclusion in Bolivia, something that would grow as time went on.

Mr. Cardenas said the new constitution had been in force for one year and there was a law against racism and discrimination. The aim was not only to ask racists to stop practicing racism, but rather to apply a law that would punish such behaviour.

In preliminary concluding observations, Alexei Avtonomov, the Committee Expert who served as country Rapporteur for the report of Bolivia, said that the exchange had provided a clearer picture of the situation in Bolivia as it pertained to racism and racial discrimination. It was important to properly understand this situation to come up with the best recommendations that could be used in their country. He hoped that the vision from this side of the Atlantic would be useful and fruitful in helping Bolivia to make progress along their path.

During the interactive dialogue Committee Experts raised questions and asked for further information on subjects pertaining to, among other things, the traditional justice system and the role it played in access to justice; prior consultations for indigenous communities on issues that affected them; double discrimination experienced by women due to their gender and their belonging to indigenous or Afro-descendent communities; the status of Afro descendents in the county; the upcoming census and how it would enumerate indigenous peoples and people in remote areas; human rights training and education; the role of the media in fostering negative and discriminatory attitudes; and the State’s progress on the Millennium Development Goals.

The delegation of Bolivia included representatives from the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Culture, the Legislative Assembly and the Permanent Mission of Bolivia to the United Nations Office at Geneva.

The Committee will present its written observations and recommendations on the seventeenth through twentieth periodic reports of Bolivia, which were presented in one document, at the end of its session, which concludes on 11 March.

When the Committee reconvenes at 3 p.m. this afternoon it is scheduled to take up the combined fourteenth through eighteenth periodic report of Cuba (CERD/C/CUB/14-18).

Report of Bolivia

The seventeenth through twentieth periodic report of Bolivia, submitted in one document (CERD/C/BOL/17-20), says it is vital to point out that much of Bolivian history contains colonial overtones, which began with the Spanish invasion and, once Bolivia became a Republic, continued with the elite groups that were creating the country’s laws, organization and structure, while combining elements of domination, ethnic exclusion, racism and hegemony. These masqueraded as liberal modernization, which was the reason for cancelling out and destroying the entire system of civilization and culture of the country’s indigenous and native peoples and nations. In this sense, the process of colonization included practices of racism, extermination, genocide and ethnocide against indigenous people native to the territory. Thanks to the struggle, resistance and work of the social organizations, indigenous native peoples and nations and farm workers who have been the historical protagonists of democratic change, major advances have now been made in terms of equal conditions for indigenous nations, peoples and communities.
In terms of the commitment to condemn and eliminate racial discrimination in State policy, the country has the National Development Plan “A Decent Sovereign, Productive and Democratic Bolivia in order to Live Well- 2006-2011”, a legal instrument that includes action lines for eliminating racial discrimination, as part of a Plan that guides and coordinates the country’s development in processes of sectoral, territorial and institutional planning. This document is led by the Bolivian people, especially the historically abandoned section of society. According to the National Development Plan, in a multiethnic and pluricultural country such as Bolivia, development must be built around a plurinational and intercultural rationale based on civilizing coexistence. Through the Plan, the aim of development is to achieve independence and uniqueness, with native languages and bilingualism, as well as intangible and subjective dimensions. This new model proposes a different institutional design for representation and the exercise of power, in which the aim is to eliminate current racial discrimination and replace it with a practice of dialogue, cooperation, complementarity, reciprocity and understanding. In addition, as the prohibition of discrimination is enshrined in the Constitution, it is also protected by another organizational structure of the State that was approved on 7 February 2009 by Supreme Decree No. 29894. This Decree established the principle of equality by and for public officials, and provided for the creation of the Vice-Ministry for Decolonization (attached to the Ministry of Cultures) that is responsible for, inter alia, encouraging the elimination of practices based on feudalism, patrimonialism, racism and bureaucratism, as well as developing policies to prevent and eradicate racism and cultural intolerance.

It is also important to highlight the work done by the Ombudsman and the Universidad la Cordillera, in their management of the Observatory for Racism, which has developed a research, training and action project to combat all forms of racism in Bolivia. The project aims to reduce racial labels, to replace the fatalist acceptance of inevitable conflict with a peaceful intercultural attitude and to fight to eliminate racial discrimination, xenophobia and other forms of discrimination. The work of the Observatory for Racism is based on the following three pillars: a research area; the Observatory for Racism itself; and training processes. The aim of the latter is to organize seminars, analyse discourse and representation and suggest to the media actions to promote concepts that offer an alternative to racism.

Presentation of the Report

NILDA COPA, Minister of Justice of Bolivia, in opening remarks introduced the delegation and said it was interesting to hear about the facts on the ground and the opinions and views of the Bolivian people and people from around the world. Bolivia faced numerous and difficult challenges, but the State wished to include everyone, both men and women in the life of the State. This was an important process spearheaded by the President, Evo Morales. This process did take time and the new constitution and organic laws were allowing them to build the State together in a participatory manner. They had begun to build social inclusion in Bolivia, something that would grow as time went on.

FELIX CARDENAS, Vice Minister of Decolonization from the Ministry of Culture of Bolivia, presenting the periodic report of Bolivia, said that for the first time since the founding of Bolivia in 1825, the country had an indigenous president and they accomplished this without violence and using their own democratic laws and using democratic suffrage. Building a society of equals, people who respected each others differences, was the major challenge they had before them. Since Bolivia was founded, they were taught that it was one nation with one language and one religion. Because of this monolithic way of seeing the country, they were never able to build a national identity that reflected the diversity of the State. In Bolivia, there were 36 cultures, languages and ways of seeing the world. They were not members of a single religion, but rather a secular State as set forth in the constitution. This did not mean they were atheist, but rather a country that respected religious freedoms.

It was important to embark on a deep rooted process of decolonization, and to understand the background of colonization and how it replicated itself through inertia, racism and patrimony. The colonial State gave rise to racism through its institutional structure. Patriarchy was not just about women’s struggles and feminism, but rather about daily attitudes and behaviours that became laws against women. The State itself was patriarchal and this racism and patriarchy were the fundamental tools of the colonial State. The laws of Bolivia were Frankenstein laws, meaning that they were cobbled together from parts taken from now dead systems. Decolonization meant that these laws had to be deconstructed and rebuilt to reflect the realities of Bolivia, but decolonization also meant that attitudes and beliefs had to change, people had to be decolonized mentally. A new education act had been announced to dismantle the patriarchy and to advance decolonization. The new constitution had been in force for one year and there was a law against racism and discrimination. The aim was not only to ask racists to stop practicing racism, but rather to apply a law that would punish such behaviour. There was also a Constitutional Equivalence law to ensure the increased presence of women in all areas of power.

Mr. Cardenas said in the 1970s and 1980s the paradigm was the class struggle and they studied socialism in the style of the Soviet Union, a style of socialism that came down with the fall of the Berlin Wall. But now this had moved to the Indian as a global paradigm. Today, 500 years later, Indians came to convert them, they had to come to the West to convert them and teach them that there was another way of life, one that respected Mother Earth and that re-established balance between men and nature and men and women. Who did not want a society with dignity, bread, work, freedom, nature, and justice? Capitalism did not want any of these things; either capitalism died or Mother Earth died.

MARIANELA PACO, President of the Human Rights Commission of Bolivia, continuing the presentation of the report, said that Bolivia had entered a social development stage with institutions designed to ensure the equity and dignity of all Bolivians. The National Human Rights Commission had met with the victims of 24 May 2008 in which humiliation was inflicted on rural populations. These victims had requested that a proper law be set up against racial discrimination and this draft law had been presented to the victims and the national assembly for their input. Once these inputs were received, a debate was held in the assembly and the draft law was tabled by an assembly member of African descent. This law was designed for the prevention and punishment of discrimination and racial discrimination. The objective was to eliminate racist behaviour and all forms of discrimination. The law also established different mechanisms for combating racism such as educational measures and training of public officials. There was also a section on communication and dissemination so that the entire population knew about the law and its contents. The law also required the gathering of statistical data on compliance with the law. There was also an economic component to the law that required the redistribution of wealth in a fair and equitable manner through social investment and other economic policies.

Ms. Paco went on to say that this law also established mechanisms of protection for victims. These included a complaints mechanism that allowed for constitutional, administrative and disciplinary action to be taken depending on the offence. There was also a mechanism for the protection of victims from racism in the media, which often incited and legitimized acts of racism. In terms of penalties, the law established five new offences, including: racism itself, which was penalized by 3 to 7 years in jail depending on aggravating factors; discrimination; incitement to or dissemination of racism; the organization of racist associations; and insults or other verbal aggressions with racial motivations. Once this law was approved in the legislative assembly, it was required to be adopted within 90 days.

NELSON MARCELO COX MAYORGA, Deputy Minister of Fundamental Rights in the Ministry of Justice of Bolivia, said that the constitution recognized people of African descent which included all indigenous peoples. The National Action Plan for Human Rights, promulgated by the Supreme Decree of 20 December 2008, established rules for the protection and promotion of the rights of indigenous populations. The new census to be carried out this year would include the option to self-identify as Afro-Bolivian, an option that had not been available before. The aim was to improve the relationship of this community with the government apparatus.

With regard to gays, lesbians, transgender and bisexual people, the constitution prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The 28th of June was recognized as the Day of Non-Discrimination for Sexual Orientation. Mr. Mayorga said that the State understood that there were still obstacles to the integration of these rights, namely discrimination from a largely conservative society that in many cases provoked mistreatment and violence based on sexual orientation.

In terms of rural indigenous people, the constitution recognized 36 cultural matrices which established indigenous rural peoples with their own jurisdictions where they could apply their cultural values, norms and procedures. The constitution also established the concept of prior consultation, which had to be carried out any time the government planned to take actions that would affect these rural, indigenous communities. This concept of prior consultation was in line with international human rights instruments and the aim was the collective construction of draft laws.

The Vice-Ministry of Decolonization combated racism through awareness raising, dissemination of anti-discrimination laws and the receipt of complaints. The office was also working to put together an analysis of discrimination in Bolivia in cooperation with various sectors, including the Afro-Bolivian community, rural indigenous communities, non-governmental organizations, public officials, civil society groups, people living with HIV/AIDS, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, adolescents, elderly people and people with disabilities. After the various consultations were completed, the State would develop a plan to combat discrimination.

Questions Raised by the Rapporteur and Experts

ALEXEI AVTONOMOV, the Committee Expert serving as country Rapporteur for the report of Bolivia, said that it was difficult to make an analysis of a country undergoing such drastic changes. The delegation had provided a great deal of information regarding new laws and other measures that had been enacted in the country, and this filled in quite a few gaps. It was fair to say that a peaceful revolution was underway.

The situation had totally changed with the new constitution and a host of supreme decrees that had been passed. The core document under review probably needed to be completely rewritten because so much had changed. Two hundred years after independence, the situation of indigenous peoples was not perfect so he had many questions regarding that. He also wanted more details on certain acts and how they were implemented. There were complaints that there were no prior consultation proceedings in compliance with international standards, for example concerning a mining project in the Corocoro territory. There were complaints that there was not full respect for the people of this region and Mother Earth.

Mr. Avtonomov said he would be grateful for any information that could be provided about the events surrounding 11 September 2008 in Pando. People of African descent were very vulnerable, and he had several questions regarding the plurinational nature of Bolivia. What questions would be asked on the upcoming census and who would be included? There were people of African descent and 36 recognized indigenous communities. What about indigenous people who had migrated to neighbouring countries? How would they calculate people who lived in isolation? Would census enumerators go to remote regions of the country? This statistical data was important for policymaking.

How did the new unit of the Ministry of Justice work to promote the rights of indigenous peoples? How did the State make use of the Committee’s general recommendations? Mr. Avtonomov believed they could be useful in addressing discrimination. He took great interest in the use of customary courts to apply customary laws, but wanted to know if this would become an integral part of the country’s judiciary structure or whether there would be two systems side by side. He felt it would be better to have a single system that integrated the customs and sources of law into one prevailing system. It was important for people to get used to indigenous customs and the judicial system could help promote acceptance of such customs. It was important to know how this system actually worked in Bolivia.

Mr. Avtonomov said he was pleased to note that a new law made racism a crime subject to penalties. There had been positive changes to eradicate discrimination and while difficulties and problems remained, in life there were always problems.

One Committee Expert asked for further details on the educational curriculum whose goal was to combat hate speech. Were there codes of ethics for journalists? Could more information be provided regarding hate speech in general in the country?

How did the State view the concept of collective rights within the framework of its constitution?

Could the delegation elaborate on the penalties for hate speech, racism, and discrimination? How were these laws effectively applied and implemented? Had the State made available all the necessary means to apply and implement all these courageous measures they had taken?

The delegation was asked whether there had been an increase in racial violence in the country. There was no data available on complaints, prosecutions and convictions for such acts. Perhaps in subsequent reports the delegation could provide more information in this regard.

Why were some young people now involved in hostilities; was this an expression of persistent structural racism and what was the role of the media in such unrest?

How did indigenous justice work in practice? Could it be involved in criminal as well as civil cases? Did customary law provide full respect for the fundamental principles of human rights and was there an appeals process?

Another Expert asked how the State guaranteed plurinational representation and what steps had to be taken to ensure that the diversity of the State was reflected in practice? What was being done to make sure that these changes stayed in place and were not changed as soon as the government changed? What was being done currently to prosecute people for war crimes, crimes against humanity, committed by and on behalf of the former president when he was in power? There was no statute of limitations on crimes against humanity. What specifically was being done to combat the official racism on the part of the State, if it still existed?

Information given by non-governmental organizations contradicted information provided in the State party’s report. Non-governmental organizations said there were only 2 women in the cabinet while the report said there were 10 and that indigenous women were woefully underrepresented.

What offences were judged by the community justice system?

A Committee member said that the Committee understood full well the obstacles that Bolivia faced with regards to violence against rural peoples, but the State had to end impunity for such acts. How did the State train local authorities to respect the new laws and international norms and standards? Also, laws prohibited participation in racist organizations, but not the organizations themselves. The Expert said they also hoped the upcoming census would provide much needed statistical data on different ethnic groups. Were there measures envisaged for the restoration of land to certain communities? What about double discrimination against women who suffered from discrimination due to gender and race?

The next speaker asked how Bolivia was progressing in meeting the Millennium Development Goals. Were there any discussions between the Bolivian State and neighbouring States to address the cross border needs of indigenous groups? What were the mechanisms in place to implement the sweeping changes they had brought about such as ending structural discrimination? It was one thing to pass the laws, but another to implement and enforce them all over the country in areas such as housing, education and public health.

How would Bolivia continue with its government? Would it continue to use the version of democracy handed down to it or would it continue in another way? How did the delegation see community justice in terms of modern justice? What was being done to address bureaucracy so that it did not bury the hopes and aspirations of the people? Also, what was being done to change the mindset of indigenous chiefs so that they considered women equal?

Another Expert asked whether Bolivia had the capacity to convince capitalists, internally and externally, of its world vision. How did that process work and had it been successful?

Response by Delegation

In responding to the questions posed by the Committee Experts, the delegation began by saying that prior to 2003 indigenous peoples would never have imagined that they would be involved in such an interesting and historic process and that they would be involved in running the country. The delegation said that there had been a lessening of negative attitudes toward indigenous people now that they were included in the government and were more visible in society and the life of the country. Now one could see indigenous peoples in their native dress in the judiciary and the legislature. The number of women serving in public office had also increased, including the number of indigenous women.

The State had taken local values and turned them into rules and obligations for the State. For example, a local value was not to be lazy which had been turned into the obligation of the State to provide opportunities and technical support to enable all Bolivians to have employment and the right to work. These values help dictate the behaviour and conduct of the State.

In terms of young people and education, this was vital, particularly in countries like Bolivia. In the past, children went to school at 6 years of age and from the outset they were forbidden from speaking their own language. This traumatised the children and they were taught the white man’s history with colonial history, stories, hymns and songs. These hymns and songs glorified the conquest of Bolivia. Little by little these children were brought up to think that wearing traditional clothes and speaking the local language was backward, while speaking Spanish and wearing a suit and tie was seen as progress. Children started to feel ashamed of their roots and identity due to this colonial education. With the new educational law, school curriculums would include values and principles to help recuperate and strengthen this identity. Schools were not the only place where change was taking place, and the police, public officials, judges and other institutions were also being reformed.

Turning to indigenous languages, there were eight institutes for language and culture being created and it was unsure whether they would be affiliated with universities or whether they would be autonomous institutions. The State had habits and customs that were still colonial and all this needed to be changed, which was very much a process. They believed this process had to some extent deconstructed the oligarchy and strengthened the dignity and power of the workers.

Indigenous people had their own religions that did not allow them to separate the masculine and the feminine and based on that vision they could structure their political, social and economic institutions in a more equitable way. This expression of duality that was seen in the universe needed to be reflected in society.

Looking at the Bolivian Government in terms of western democracy, the delegation was not sure that the communal democracy they sought was at all compatible with the democracy practiced by western nations. One was based on the common good and the community and the other was not. There were so many crises, food, financial, environmental, and they proposed saving the planet with the philosophy of indigenous peoples. A white person could be indigenous, one only needed to take on board the indigenous philosophy to be indigenous. They sought a post-modern society that respected nature and allowed everyone to live in dignity. Dignity was the basis of their revolution.

The delegation went on to say that it was due to assimilation of western cultures that there was inequality between men and women in traditional practices and justice. The gender committee of parliament was working on incorporating a gender perspective into their work to ensure the full enjoyment by women of their rights. Racism was a nationwide struggle so even though there were autonomous regions, everyone was obliged to combat racism.

In terms of complaints lodged since the law against racism was promulgated in December 2008, the delegation said to date 19 complaints had been made. A report had been drawn up by the Ministry of Justice detailing attacks made by university students against indigenous farmers. With the promulgation of the law against racism, they would now have human rights education included in the curriculum to combat such actions in the future. The existence of racist organizations was in fact penalized under the law and such organizations could not be set up. Civil society would be involved in evaluating the success of the various laws and measures taken to combat racism. The delegation felt that it would take five years to eradicate racism in society.

The delegation said that any proposed mining projects needed to have environmental impact assessments done and indigenous people needed to be consulted on such projects. The delegation also talked about reparations that were paid to the families of victims of a massacre in Pando and the criminal cases were still making their way through the courts.

The census form was still being prepared so the delegation did not have the exact questions that would be asked on it. Bolivia had signed the Andean Charter with other countries in the region, providing a normative framework for their rights and allowing free movement between States that were signatories to the agreement. Regarding isolated populations, there was a draft law for the protection of indigenous peoples that were in danger of extinction. As for the dissolution of the Ministry on Indigenous Affairs, the body was abolished principally because these matters were addressed as crosscutting issues across the government and were too big to be addressed by just one agency.

With regard to International Labour Organization Convention 169, this had been very useful for empowering indigenous peoples in terms of land reform and ownership. Work had also been done in applying the Committee’s general recommendation 39. Work had also been undertaken to harmonize traditional and civil justice. There was a law on jurisdictional demarcation which established areas of personal application when persons were members of an indigenous community, material jurisdiction over matters that had traditionally been handled by traditional justice and territorial aspects in which the effect was felt within that jurisdiction. Civil courts dealt with crimes against children, anything dealing with crimes against humanity and human rights violations, guns, drugs and other matters as well as in civil matters in which the State was a third party such as labour law, social security law, mining law, administrative law, agrarian law and so on. The law also ensured gender equality in access to justice and public positions.

Turning to combating drug trafficking and the culture of the cocoa leaf, the delegation referred the Committee to the State party’s report. The investigation into what was known as Black October was ongoing. The case covered press crimes, torture, deprivation of liberty, homicide and genocide and as result of this there were various persons being tried. In the question of recovering territorial rights in the Chaco, the issue of landholding would be investigated. Two programmes had also been introduced to eradicate child and forced labour.

Turning to the media and professional ethics, the delegation said that there was an 85 year old guidebook for journalists but these rules had not been respected. Any citizen who felt their dignity had been offended by the media could bring complaints to the courts and the journalists received verbal warnings or fines. There had only been two such cases in the 85 year history of the ethics guidebook. One person admitted guilt and was punished and the case was dropped in the other instance. There had been blanket impunity for journalists who violated the rules. Freedom of expression was not the exclusive right of any particular sector of society, it belonged to everyone. The debate surrounding racism had engendered a discussion around journalism and its obligations to society.

Further Questions Posed by Experts

In a second round of questions, Committee members asked the delegation to respond to charges that Bolivia was now racist against white people. What was the situation of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in Bolivia? According to information obtained by the Committee, these people encountered a whole host of discrimination, ill treatment, obstacles and stigmatization. Refugee women were threatened with exploitation and prostitution, while children were threatened with trafficking and forced labour.

A Committee Expert asked about the ombudsman’s office in Bolivia, which was being staffed by an interim director. Was this still the case? Had the various laws been translated into local languages other than Spanish so that people knew their rights?

ALEXEI AVTONOMOV, the Committee Expert serving as country Rapporteur for the report of Bolivia, thanked the delegation for its detailed answers, but he had some additional questions. Would the Government consider ratifying the amendment to article 8 of the Convention? What was the Government’s position regarding the Convention on Stateless Persons? Bolivia had acceded to this Convention, but it had not been ratified by the parliament. Regarding jurisdictional demarcation, what was the personal scope of this in light of the delegation’s cosmo vision? They needed to look at the territorial applicability as that might be an argument used against this system. As a lawyer, Mr. Avtonomov said the law had to be universal for all people and he wanted a better understanding of the interactions of customary and civil law.

Another Expert asked whether the sources of traditional justice were written rules and if not, how were these rules consistently applied? The delegation was also asked what form of government or state structure could correspond to this community based popular power, the very nature of which did not correspond to other set ups that were currently seen around the world. Was what they envisaged not a utopia? The current forms of government were born of western models of democracy with a nation state governed by elective bodies, judiciaries and executive powers. Could such powers be placed in a different structure in Bolivia? Would international trade laws be abolished, for example? The delegation said it did not need the International Monetary Fund or regional development banks, so would they go back to an autarchic system in the 21st century? Wouldn’t it be better to live the way they were now, in today’s systems but with their own changes? Was this not the rebirth of Che Guevara?

Response by Delegation

The delegation said that for years the society had been divided into those that were superior and those that were inferior. When Evo Morales took office he wanted these people to know they were losing their privileges and indigenous people would not allow themselves to be beaten and their rights trampled. So now these indigenous people were being called racists because they refused to let the white people exploit them.

The constitution had been translated into several languages and was being translated into English as well. In terms of traditional justice, their logic was not that only what was written was valid and that anything before that was invalid. Their history dated before Christ, so speaking of written or unwritten law was not the way they did things. They were trying to balance the best of nature and society. It was a process built by indigenous people and the working and middle class. Western democracy needed to be improved with community democracy, because for many years indigenous people did not even have the right to vote so western democracy alone was not enough. This utopia, which was a reality for them, was that there was consensus.

The delegation said that inter-culturality simply meant peaceful coexistence between different people. Traditional and community justice was important because imagine how the indigenous people felt all those years being subjected to laws imposed on them by outsiders, laws that they were not used to and that went against their traditional practices. They did not discriminate between individual and collective rights.

In terms of the form of government they currently had in Bolivia, it was community based and inclusive. They wanted a peaceful society and they were striving towards this dream. It was a person’s soul that determined how they were as people, not the colour of their skin. Under capitalism they experienced racism, poverty and hunger so they questioned the usefulness of such a system.

Concerning the situation of migrants and asylum seekers, there needed to be more representation of human rights so that refugees could stay up to three months and provisions for indefinite stay needed to be established. The Human Rights Action plan as mandated under the constitution would be used to address these issues.

Preliminary Concluding Observations

In preliminary concluding observations, ALEXEI AVTONOMOV, the Committee Expert who served as country Rapporteur for the report of Bolivia, said that the exchange had provided a clearer picture of the situation in Bolivia as it pertained to racism and racial discrimination. It was important to properly understand this situation to come up with the best recommendations that could be used in their country. He hoped that the vision from this side of the Atlantic would be useful and fruitful in helping Bolivia to make progress along their path. The Committee was here to assist governments with practical recommendations that were useful.

Also in concluding remarks, NILDA COPA, the Minister of Justice of Bolivia, thanked the Committee on behalf of the delegation and wished them all the best success with the work they were doing with all States.


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