Hearing on human rights violations within the Bolivian Armed Forces
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is currently in session and this past week held hearings on the human rights situations in different countries. On Thursday morning (9-10 a.m., Padilha Vidal room) a hearing was held with representatives of the Bolivian Ombudsman and the Bolivian State. The Ombudsman charged that human rights violations were occurring within the Bolivian military and police and that the State was doing nothing about it. Among other things, they charged that the State had adopted a decree (Decreto 1875) permitting the recruitment of minors, 17 years old, although the international standard is that you have to be 18, and also that some 32 members of the Armed Forces died violent deaths for which no one has been tried, sentenced and convicted. The State responded that President Evo Morales was sensitive to this issue since he had served in the military and had known hunger during this period. So a priority has been to provide adequate food to the Armed Forces. In addition, young recruits are no longer put in the position of serving as slaves to senior officers, dignity has been restored to the Armed Forces. The hearing was especially interesting because of the issues it raised, the unusual context of members of the military alleging violations of their human rights, and the fact that the Ombudsman is a government official.
A video of the hearing can be found on the Commission's website.