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Human rights in Bolivia under review: the way forward

November 3, 2014
Girl carrying a child in Gomachamba, Bolivia.

UN Photo/John Isaac

If you have been following us these past few weeks, you may know that WILPF’s Human Rights Programme and WILPF Bolivia collaborated to participate in the pre session for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The objective of the collaboration was to suggest recommendations for States to endorse and share during the official session for the UPR on Bolivia at the Human Rights Council (HRC).

Indeed, during the UPR, only States can make official recommendations, but NGOs play an essential, though informal role, providing them with ideas of possible recommendations and pushing them to make the right ones.

WILPF’s Human Rights Programme, in collaboration with WILPF Bolivia, suggested recommendations on the issue of femicide and the implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325. Then, we attended and monitored Bolivia’s UPR, where many UN Member States shared our concerns.

Advancing women’s rights and empowerment in Bolivia: from legislation to action

Bolivia has adopted one major law in order to combat violence against women. Now, the effective and full implementation of this law is the next challenge for the Bolivian government.

Thus, many Member States called for the effective implementation of Law Nr. 348, which guarantees women a life free from violence, especially by allocating the necessary resources and creating specific institutions. Spain and Italy recommended in particular for measures to be taken to efficiently tackle the high level of femicides in Bolivia.

Additionally, we were happy to hear that Portugal endorsed our recommendation for the adoption of a National Action Plan (NAP) for the implementation of the UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. This recommendation was officially accepted by the Bolivian State; we are now looking forward to the creation of this NAP and hope that the Bolivian civil society will be consulted in this process.

What to do now?

During this review, Bolivia received 194 recommendations, out of which 132 were accepted. States also recommended that Bolivia strengthen actions to guarantee the independence of its judicial system, combat human trafficking, eradicate child labour, and modify the legislation that criminalises abortion. Unfortunately, recommendations on child labour and the judicial system did not enjoy the support of Bolivia.

Regardless, WILPF’s Human Rights Programme and WILPF Bolivia will now monitor the implementation of all these UPR recommendations to ensure that Bolivia respects its international human rights obligations. The UPR report will be an important advocacy tool to defend and protect human rights in Bolivia.

Spreading the word about the UPR mechanism is also essential to the protection and promotion of human rights.

For more details about WILPF’s position on Bolivia, check out our previous blog.

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