Annual Report: Bolivia 2013

Report
May 23, 2013

Annual Report: Bolivia 2013

View More Research

Head of state and government Evo Morales Ayma

Indigenous Peoples’ rights to consultation and to free, prior and informed consent over developments affecting them remained unfulfilled. Victims of human rights violations committed during past military regimes continued to be denied full reparations. Delays in the administration of justice persisted. Violations of freedom of expression were reported.

Plurinational State of Bolivia

Background

Protests in support of economic and social demands and Indigenous Peoples’ rights were widespread. In some cases police responded with excessive use of force.

In September, following his visit to Bolivia, the UN Special Rapporteur on racism acknowledged some advances, but expressed concern at continuing persistent discrimination against Indigenous Peoples and other communities at risk.

Indigenous Peoples’ rights

In February, a law was passed calling for consultation with Indigenous Peoples in the Isiboro-Sécure Indigenous Territory and National Park (Territorio Indígena y Parque Nacional Isiboro-Sécure, TIPNIS) over government plans to construct a road through the park. In April, Indigenous communities opposed to the road marched to La Paz arguing that the consultation was contrary to previous legislation passed to protect the TIPNIS and to international standards and the Constitution.

In June, the Plurinational Constitutional Court ruled that the consultation was constitutional, but that its parameters must first be agreed with all the Indigenous communities potentially affected. In July, the government decided to go ahead with the consultation after reaching agreements with only some of the Indigenous communities. In October, before the consultation was completed, construction began of the first stretch of the road outside the park and Indigenous territory. Official reports on the results of the consultation were still pending at the end of the year.

No police officers responsible for excessive use of force in 2011 during peaceful protests against the road in the TIPNIS had been brought to justice by the end of 2012.

Lack of prior consultation over mine exploration in Mallku Khota, Potosí Department by a Bolivian subsidiary of a Canadian mining company led to violent unrest between local communities and the police. In August, the government announced the nationalization of the mine to put an end to the protests by those opposed to the Canadian mining company. However, conflicts between supporters and opponents of the project continued in December.

Impunity and the justice system

Delays in bringing those responsible for human rights violations under military governments (1964-1982) persisted. Delays in the administration of justice led to impunity in other cases. Allegations of misuse of the judiciary against opponents or critics of the government were reported.