UN Watch Statement
Human Rights Council, 28th Session
Item 6: UPR Report on Bolivia
18 March 2015
Delivered by Wendy Ramirez
Thank you Mr. President,
UN Watch is deeply concerned by the state of human rights in Bolivia. In its recent UPR, many states voiced great concern over the criminal justice system and the rights of women and children. Even though Bolivia has accepted the vast majority of the recommendations, we are concerned that the government may not be fully committed in implementing them.
Several of the recommendations related to child labor laws. Germany and others asked Bolivia to “take effective measures to protect children from exploitative forms of labour and work in hazardous areas.” We are concerned that not enough is being done to eradicate underage employment. According to NGO reports, Bolivia remains the only country in the world that has legalized the employment of children as young as 10 years old. This law reflects the sad reality that approximately half of Bolivia’s 10 million population lives under the poverty line. We are concerned that the low work age limit could be counterproductive, perpetuating the cycle of poverty Bolivia wishes to abolish.
Additionally, several governments recommended that Bolivia “take further efforts to ensure that all women enjoy their right to sexual and reproductive health, and to increase access to health services, particularly in rural areas…” While Bolivia has adopted a comprehensive law to combat violence against women and has ended the requirement for judicial authorization for women seeking legal abortion, there remain other legal barriers to abortion and not enough funding for the implementation of its new laws.
Lastly, other recommendations included the need to “take concrete measures to prevent prison overcrowding and … to ensure that all children living in detention are accorded special protection.” While we recognize some improvement in all these areas, there is more to be done, in particular protecting minors who live in prison with their families from sexual abuse.
Mr. President, UN Watch calls upon the government of Bolivia to take further measures to protect the most vulnerable groups.