IACHR ANNOUNCES VISIT TO BOLIVIA
Washington, June 6, 2008 — The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) will conduct a visit to Bolivia from June 9-13, to gather information on captive communities of the indigenous Guaraní people living in a state of bondage analogous to slavery, in Bolivia’s Chaco region. The IACHR delegation will be led by Commissioner Luz Patricia Mejía, First Vice-Chair of the IACHR, in her capacity as Rapporteur for Bolivia, and by Commissioner Víctor Abramovich, as Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. They will be accompanied by personnel from the IACHR Executive Secretariat.
Given the extreme gravity of the situation experienced by these communities, the IACHR has followed this issue through visits, reports, and public hearings. A report entitled Access to Justice and Social Inclusion: The Road towards Strengthening Democracy in Bolivia—published in June 2007, based on a visit conducted in November 2006—contains observations and recommendations by the Commission on the situation faced by the captive communities.
The IACHR also received information in a hearing on the situation faced by captive communities in Bolivia, which was held on March 10, 2008, during the Commission’s 131st period of sessions, and which led to the signing, on March 11, of a Memorandum of Commitment. In this memorandum, the petitioners who had requested the hearing and the representatives of the State agreed on the need for the Inter-American Commission to conduct a visit to Bolivia “in order to ascertain in the geographical locations affected the facts that are the object of complaint, which threaten the agrarian reform process and the security of the captive families of the Guaraní people.”
On June 13, at 10:30 a.m., the Commission will offer a press conference at the Hotel Europa, located at No. 64 Calle Tiahuanacu, in La Paz, Bolivia.
A principal and autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the Inter-American Commission derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights and acts in representation of all the OAS member countries. It is made up of seven independent members who act in their personal capacity, do not represent any particular country, and are elected by the OAS General Assembly.
The Commission would like to express its appreciation to the government of Bolivia for agreeing to this visit and for the cooperation it has provided in planning the agenda of activities.
Press contact: María Isabel
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