January 15, 2009

HRW Report: Bolivia

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FYI, below you find the first paragraph on Bolivia of the Human Rights Watch Report 2009.

Bolivia’s deep political, ethnic, and regional divisions and the fragility of its democratic institutions contribute to a precarious human rights situation. Almost two thirds of the population lives below the national poverty line, and over a third— mostly indigenous peoples—lives in extreme poverty.

Since his landslide electoral victory in December 2005, President Evo Morales has sought to introduce a new constitution and other far-reaching reforms. The reform process has contributed to dramatic political polarization within the country, which has led to numerous episodes of political violence. The government’s supporters and its opponents, as well as the police and military, have been accused of killings during violent clashes between rival demonstrators. Investigations into these unlawful killings are often politicized and generally fail to establish criminal responsibility. Despite judicial rulings that civilian courts should have jurisdiction, military courts usually investigate alleged abuses by army troops, further contributing to impunity.

Although Bolivia enjoys diverse media and a vibrant public debate, political polarization has brought violent attacks on journalists and media outlets by both pro-government and opposition demonstrators.