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Cablegate: Bolivia Hosts International Human Rights Conference

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PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLP #3147/01 3261621
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 221621Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY LA PAZ
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1378
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 6312
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 3636
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 7499
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 4756
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 2008
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 2070
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 4205
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 4647
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 9230
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL

UNCLAS LA PAZ 003147

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL ECON PHUM BL
SUBJECT: BOLIVIA HOSTS INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS CONFERENCE


-------
Summary
-------

1. (SBU) From October 24-26, Bolivia's eastern city of Santa
Cruz hosted a conference of National Human Rights
Institutions (NHRIs) from over eighty countries. The theme
of the conference was "respecting the human rights of
migrants." The Santa Cruz Declaration, the conference's main
product, focused primarily on next steps. However, it also
took a jab at current United States immigration policy,
specifically the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico
border. President Evo Morales opened the conference with a
speech that argued for the liberalization of migration around
the world. He also used the occasion to criticize U.S.
policies on a number of fronts including immigration, the war
in Iraq, and our "harboring" of former President Sanchez de
Lozada. The conference, at least temporarily, raised
Bolivia's profile in international human rights circles. The
conference also gave President Morales a venue to expound on
immigration liberalization; an issue which resonates with the
estimated three million Bolivians who live outside of Bolivia
as well as with the thousands who leave the country on a
monthly basis. An underlying conference objective was to
persuade developed countries to further open their borders to
both legal and illegal migrants. End Comment.

-----------------------------
Description of The Conference
-----------------------------

2. (SBU) From October 24-26, Bolivia's eastern city of Santa
Cruz hosted a conference of National Human Rights
Institutions (NHRIs) from over eighty countries. The
conference, titled the "Eighth International Conference of
National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of
Human Rights," was a gathering of National Human Rights
Institutions (NHRIs) from around the world.

3. (SBU) The theme of the conference was "respecting the
human rights of migrants." The conference attendees focused
much attention on strategies for getting countries to ratify
and implement the "International Convention on the Protection
of the Rights of All Migrants Workers and Members of their
Families."

--------------------------
The Santa Cruz Declaration
--------------------------

4. (SBU) The Santa Cruz Declaration, the conference's main
product, focused primarily on next steps. However, it also
took a jab at current United States immigration policy,
specifically the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico
border. The declaration consists of forty-four points which
can be condensed into the following main ideas;

- NHRIs should promote a human rights approach to
migration;
- NHRIs are critical to the monitoring and protection
of migrants' rights;
- NHRIs should promote the ratification of the "Inter-
national Convention on the Protection of the Rights
of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families;"
and,
- NHRIs should cooperate with organizations at all
levels (local, national, regional and international).

Item 11 of the declaration contained a clear statement
against U.S. immigration policy regarding construction of a
wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The item reads,
"experience demonstrates that physical barriers, including
walls, endanger fundamental rights such as the right to life."

--------------------------------------------- ----------
President Morales Opines on Migration and U.S. Policies
--------------------------------------------- ----------

5. (SBU) President Evo Morales opened the conference with a
speech that argued for the liberalization of migration around
the world. He used the occasion to criticize U.S. policies
on a number of fronts including, immigration, the war in
Iraq, and our "harboring" of former President Sanchez de
Lozada. Morales argued that people, regardless of their
nationality, should be allowed to move freely around the
globe to seek economic opportunities. He stated that people
should be "globalized" before the globalization of products
and services. He added that there is "no marginalization, no
exclusion for migrants (moving from the developed North to
the less-developed South) they are actually welcomed," while
in the other direction, he explained "migration is demonized
and criminalized". In an attempt to further his point he
gave the following example, "the U.S. Embassy in La Paz only
authorized a visa for the days of my meetings (UNGA). If I
hadn't been president they would not have let me in the
United States." Morales later called on members of the
conference to push for the extradition from the United States
of former President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada. He also urged
participants to put pressure on the United States "to pull
its troops out of Iraq."

-------
Comment
-------

6. (SBU) The conference, at least temporarily, raised
Bolivia's profile in international human rights circles.
Bolivia's Defensor del Pueblo, Waldo Albarracin, was
singled-out in the Santa Cruz Declaration for his
contributions. (Note: The Defensor is an independent agency
that handles human rights cases submitted by citizens against
the GOB). Poloff spoke to the Defensor after the conference
and he stated that the conference was a "big success" and
that it garnered a lot of goodwill for his office and Bolivia
in general.

7. (SBU) The conference also gave President Morales a venue
to expound on immigration liberalization; an issue which
resonates with the estimated three million Bolivians resident
outside of Bolivia as well as with the thousands who leave
the country on a monthly basis. An underlying conference
objective was to persuade developed countries to further open
their borders to both legal and illegal migrants. A press
release issued after the conference highlighted this goal,
"Participants also recalled that very few countries have
ratified the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of
All Migrants Workers and Members of their Families, and that
so far, no country among the developed nations has ratified
the Convention." End comment.
GOLDBERG

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