On 28th October, Bolivia will be reviewed by the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) for its second Universal Periodic Review (UPR). It was previously reviewed by the HRC in 2010.

What is the Universal Periodic Review?

The UPR is the main mechanism used by the HRC to assess the human rights situation of every state. Reviews occur every four years. If you’d like to learn more about it, watch our webinar on the HRC and the UPR.

Before each review, Geneva-based NGO UPR-Info organises a pre-session for civil society organisations (CSOs) and national human rights institutions. This gives them the opportunity to share their assessment of the human rights situation and accomplishments in the country under review. It also gives the opportunity for CSOs to suggest recommendations that UN Member States can endorse, since only Member States participate in the UPR itself.

WILPF’s Human Rights Programme monitored the pre-session on Bolivia, and WILPF Bolivia took the floor to share its recommendations.

Issues of concern for Bolivian CSOs

As explained by both WILPF and Comunidad de Derechos Humanos, the Bolivian government has made great efforts to protect human rights in terms of legislation. However, these laws remain purely theoretical because of the failure to implement them. As a result, despite some positive developments, the situation remains largely unchanged.

Comunidad de Derechos Humanos expressed concerns about the high rates of maternal mortality because of the prohibition of abortion. They denounced the constant pressure from religious groups which impede progress in terms of sexual and reproductive rights in Bolivia. As a recommendation, Comunidad de Derechos Humanos urged Bolivia to modify the penal code in order to guarantee free and safe abortions to women.

Coordinadora Andina de Organizaciones Indígenas denounced the violence and discrimination faced by indigenous peoples, and recommended that Bolivia take all necessary measures to ensure their full political participation in public institutions.

WILPF’s recommendations

Maria Rita from WILPF Bolivia is presenting our recommendations at the UPR pre-sessionOne of the most worrying human rights violations in Bolivia is the increasing number of femicides. 110 femicides were reported in Bolivia in 2013, meaning that a woman dies every three days. Though a law was adopted last year guaranteeing women a life free from violence, this law has yet to be effectively implemented in practice.

WILPF Bolivia therefore recommended that the Bolivian authorities accelerate the implementation of the law at all levels, and present an impartial follow-up report to assess the implementation and results of the law.

Additionally, WILPF Bolivia suggested that Bolivia develop a national action plan for the implementation of the United Nations Security Council resolution 1325. This resolution urges Member States to ensure increased representation of women at all decision making levels in national, regional and international institutions and mechanisms for the prevention and resolution of conflict.

For more information, read our WILPF’s recommendations for the UPR of Bolivia.

Para más información lee las recomendaciones de la LIMPAL para el EPU de Bolivia.

What will happen now?

The UPR of Bolivia will take place on 28th October. WILPF’s Human Rights Programme will attend the session and will keep you posted on the outcome of the review. Don’t forget to keep an eye on our website and to follow us on Facebook and Twitter. To get the latest news directly to your inbox, subscribe to our newsletter.

In the meantime, spread the word about the UPR mechanism!