Press Release

IACHR rejects generalized violence in Bolivia and calls for the respect democratic institutions in the country

November 12, 2019

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Washington, D.C. - / Quito, Ecuador - Given the severe alteration of public order in Bolivia, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights rejects widespread violence and calls for the respect of democratic institutions in the country, with adherence to human rights and the fundamental freedoms of the population.

Since the beginning of the protests in the post-electoral context, the Commission has observed severe acts of violence, which would have resulted in at least four people killed, 426 injured, and 227 detained. The political crisis was aggravated by the police riot that occurred on November 8 in Cochabamba, Sucre, and Santa Cruz; to which were added looting and fire against public furniture, private property, including diplomatic representations, headquarters of political parties and local media; as well as attacks and indiscriminate harassment throughout the country. The Commission also received information on violent confrontations between both parties and government opponents, as well as widespread persecution campaigns. Likewise, the IACHR has been informed of acts of violence against the State and independent media, including the forced interruption of the circulation of newspapers –including Página Siete- due to threats and assaults. Siete Siege, under threat of setting fire to its facilities. Likewise, the IACHR has taken note and expresses its concern about hate speech and other forms of violence, in particular, against indigenous peoples and their symbols.

The Commission reiterates its call to all political and social actors in Bolivia to refrain from using violence as a means of political coercion and underlines that the discourses that incite violence are contrary to human rights. The Commission also calls for respect for the immunities of diplomatic representations accredited to the Bolivian State, as well as the safety of all persons there.

The IACHR noted that on November 10, once the report of the Organization of American States Group of Auditors of the Electoral Process in Bolivia was made public, President Evo Morales announced the call for new elections and the renewal of all the members of the Plurinational Electoral Body. According to public information, the Bolivian Workers Central, the Armed Forces High Military Command, and the Bolivian Police requested the resignation of President Evo Morales, who, hours later, resigned hours later he resigned, adducing his will to prevent the increase of violence in the country, after weeks of violent clashes. The Commission has also noted, following the resignation of President Morales, the resignations of the Vice President and the members of his staff, as well as the resignation of the presidents of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies.

In view of the public declarations of military and police authorities, the Commission observes that, in accordance with the Political Constitution of the State, the Armed Forces have the fundamental mission of defending and preserving the independence, security, and stability of the State. In this regard, the IACHR recalls that, in a democratic State of Law, all security forces, including the Armed Forces, must submit to civilian control and refrain from influencing political processes. In this regard, the Commission expresses its concern for democratic institutions and the rule of law in Bolivia.

Finally, the Commission calls to fully enforce the Constitutional order, for the immediate installation of civil authorities and for the holding of elections in the country, in order to guarantee Democracy and the Rule of Law in Bolivia.

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 Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 293/19