World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Bolivia: Justice is the only way out of the crisis

Bolivia: Justice is the only way out of the crisis

"I can’t go on any more; for me, there is no justice" Vicenta de Colque, mother of Ana Colque, a nurse who died of gunshot wounds in La Paz, Bolivia, on 13 February.

These words reflect the anguish suffered today by thousands of Bolivian men and women due to judicial failures, Virginia Shoppée, Amnesty International researcher on Bolivia, said today, while presenting a new report (full report online at ) on the human rights crisis sparked by the protests that took place during 2003.

Clashes between demonstrators and the security forces on the tragic days of February and October 2003 left more than a hundred dead and hundreds injured.

"The social conflicts of recent years have been generated by protests at the government’s failure to comply with agreements on social and economic issues. It is unacceptable that the authorities do not promote solutions based on respect for fundamental rights and do not avoid the disproportionate use of force," said Ms Shoppée.

The Amnesty International report highlights the flaws in the investigations begun by the national authorities.

Amnesty International has noted the slow pace at which these investigations are progressing, the transfer to military courts of cases of civilians who lost their lives and the reported intention of prosecutors to close the files on the cases being investigated by civilian courts.

"The authorities must reject any support for solutions and measures that prevent the perpetrators of human rights violations being prosecuted, tried and punished, and that are incompatible with the international obligations contracted by the Bolivian state." The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has stated that "the duty to investigate must be undertaken in a serious manner and not as a mere formality preordained to be ineffective."

"The events of February and October left thousands of families devastated. The only way of preventing impunity from prevailing in Bolivia is for the civil justice system to proceed with independent and conclusive investigations," said Ms Shoppée. "It is incumbent on the State to prevent violations, investigate them, to prosecute and punish the perpetrators and to provide reparation for damages caused," stated Ms Shoppée.

In their response to the current crisis, it is vital that the Bolivian authorities recognise its roots in the violation of the economic, social and cultural rights of marginalized sectors of the population. Equally, it is the duty of the authorities to take measures that promote an effective dialogue and permit the achievement of lasting solutions in critical situations such as those that developed in Bolivia last year.

In his inaugural speech, on 17 October 2003, President Carlos Mesa Gisbert declared that respect for life and human rights is " the most precious asset and gift of any citizen."

"It is of vital importance today that these words become reality and that the President reaffirms this commitment to human rights. It is essential for this administration to formulate policies and begin reforms that promote and protect human rights, restore confidence in Bolivian institutions and avoid a repetition of the bloody events of 2003 that plunged so many Bolivian homes into mourning."

General information

The document presents information gathered by Amnesty International during two visits to the country, in March and November 2003, and in interviews that the organization’s representatives conducted with social and human rights organizations, the families of victims and national government officials.

For a copy of the report: "Bolivia: Crisis and Justice - days of violence in February and October 2003", please see:

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


UN: Bachelet Calls On Mexico To Step Up Efforts As Tragic Milestone Reached Of More Than 100,000 Disappearances

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Tuesday called on the Mexican authorities to step up efforts to ensure truth and justice for victims of disappearances, who now number more than 100,000, according to official data... More>>

ADC: Statement On The Assassination Of Shireen Abu Akleh

Early this morning in Jenin, Occupied Palestine, revered Palestinian voice Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian American journalist for Al Jazeera, was assassinated by Israeli Occupation Forces snipers...

Ukraine: UN Rights Office Probe Spotlights Harrowing Plight Of Civilians

Almost 76 days since Russia invaded Ukraine, countless civilians remain caught up in the horror and destruction of war, UN rights investigators said on Tuesday... More>>

Access Now: Elon Musk’s Twitter Buyout Must Not Come At The Expense Of Human Rights

Following today’s announcement that Elon Musk will acquire complete ownership of Twitter in a cash sale of around 44 billion USD, pending shareholder approval, Access Now urges Twitter’s Board, employees, and shareholders... More>>

UN: Biodiversity And Ecosystem Protection Highlighted On Mother Earth Day

Marking International Mother Earth Day, UN General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid urged on Friday, for collective action to safeguard biodiversity and protect ecosystems... More>>

Ukraine: Hundreds More Reach Safety After Fleeing Besieged Mariupol
In Ukraine, humanitarians said on Wednesday that hundreds of people have managed to reach safety after fleeing Mariupol, where there’s also been condemnation for the killing of Lithuanian filmmaker Mantas Kvedaravicius... More>>