N° 40/09




Sucre, Bolivia, June 26, 2009 — The Chair of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), Commissioner Luz Patricia Mejía, conducted a working visit to Bolivia from June 22 to 26 at the invitation of the government, in her capacity as Rapporteur on the Rights of Women. She was accompanied by attorneys Rosa Celorio and Fiorella Melzi of the IACHR Executive Secretariat. The primary objective of the visit was to collaborate in the fulfillment of one of the agreements included in the friendly settlement of the case of MZ v. Bolivia, signed on March 11, 2008. During the visit the Rapporteurship on the Rights of Women also gathered information on the economic, social, and cultural rights of women in the country, as part of a hemispheric report the Rapporteurship is preparing on the subject.


The friendly settlement of the case of MZ v. Bolivia involves the lack of due diligence on the part of the justice system in imposing punishment on the victim’s sexual assailant, based on discriminatory gender prejudice. In the friendly settlement report, the State recognized its international responsibility for the violation of the rights of “MZ” protected in the American Convention and the Convention of Belém do Pará, particularly with respect to the right of all women to live free from violence and the State’s obligation to act with due diligence to prevent, investigate, and punish such acts. The State also made a commitment under the agreement to implement measures to prevent recurrence and to provide training to judiciary officials.


As a follow-up to the agreement, Commissioner Mejía participated this Friday in a workshop held in the city of Sucre designed to train officials at all levels of the judiciary on matters related to violence and discrimination against women. The IACHR appreciates the State’s efforts to comply with the friendly settlement agreement and hopes that this process can be concluded in the short term. 


During the visit, Commissioner Luz Patricia Mejía and her delegation met with high-level government authorities, including representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Ministry of Justice, the Vice Ministry of Equality of Opportunities, and the Vice Ministry of Justice and Human Rights; the Ministry of Education; the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Protection; the Vice Ministry of Lands and Vice Ministry of Rural Development; the Office of the Presidency of the Supreme Court of Justice; and the State Prosecutor’s Office and the Office of the People’s Defender. The delegation also met with representatives of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the International Labour Organization, as well as representatives of civil society organizations and union organizations. 


The Commissioner also received valuable information on the progress and challenges in the protection and promotion of the economic, social, and cultural rights of women in the Americas; this was provided by recognized regional experts on various subjects, including employment conditions, education, and women’s access to resources, among others.


The Commissioner would like to thank the government of Bolivia for its hospitality and its cooperation in planning and carrying out the agenda of activities, as well as the government of Spain for the financial contribution that made the visit possible. The Commissioner would also like to express her appreciation to the government officials, civil society organizations, international agencies, and experts who provided information and collaboration during her visit.   


A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who act in a personal capacity, without representing a particular country, and who are elected by the OAS General Assembly.



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