IACHR RELEASES REPORT ON VISIT TO BOLIVIA
Washington, August 7, 2007—The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) today publishes its report entitled “Access to Justice and Social Inclusion: The road towards strengthening democracy in Bolivia.” The report includes the observations made by the IACHR during its visit of November 12 to 17, 2006, as well as the recommendations made to the State in order to contribute to the process of strengthening the defense and protection of human rights in a democratic context. The delegation was composed of Commissioners Evelio Fernández Arévalos, Florentín Meléndez and Víctor Abramovich, and IACHR Executive Secretary Santiago Canton. The Commission thanks the government for its cooperation during the visit.
The report emphasizes that the strengthening of institutions is essential for the process of social inclusion in Bolivia, as is the complete independence of the branches of government— particularly the guarantee of impartiality of the judiciary, access to justice, the ability to demand rights recognized constitutionally and internationally, strict compliance with due process with no discrimination whatsoever, the existence of coordination policies between community justice and official justice systems and, above all, the struggle against the critical situation of impunity regarding violations of human rights.
The report notes with concern the persistence of social and political conflicts that often result in violent confrontations. The Commission laments that these events continue to occur and indicates that their violent nature perverts the use of democratic mechanisms for participation and protest. In this regard, the IACHR urges the Bolivian State to adopt all necessary measures, within the context of a strict respect for human rights, to prevent a repetition of similar events and to seriously and diligently investigate those that have already occurred.
The Commission points out in its report that human rights difficulties in Bolivia stem from broad problems inherited from previous decades, and that the current political process and environment represent the beginning of an important process of democratization and social inclusion. This process could open the door for a majority of Bolivians, who have historically been excluded, to actively participate in decision-making on political, economic and social issues that directly affect their lives.
The report contains specific recommendations for the State with a view to improving the situation regarding the administration of justice, as well as the situation regarding persons deprived of liberty, indigenous peoples and rural communities, women, children and persons seeking refuge. These recommendations will be followed closely by the IACHR.
“Access to Justice and Social Inclusion: The road towards strengthening democracy in Bolivia” is available on the IACHR Web site (www.iachr.org). This is the link to the report in Acrobat (pdf) format.
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