Bolivia: Demand Investigation into the Attacks Against the Parade for Respect for Sexual Diversities in La Paz City

SUMMARY

On June 30th, 2007, the organizations of the LGBT community of La Paz City were organized to celebrate the Respect For Sexual Diversities Day, when one of the floats of the parade was attacked with a dynamite charge. As a result of the explosion, six of the activists were wounded.

ACTION

IGLHRC requests that letters be sent immediately to the Bolivian authorities, demanding an investigation of the facts so that all the people responsible for the attack can be properly identified and punished.

Bellow, please find a sample letter to the following officials

Please write today to:

Defensor del Pueblo
Ombudsman
Dr. Waldo Albarracin,
Address: Calle Colombia 440, La Paz - Bolivia
Telephone: (591) 2 211 3600 | (591) 2 211 2600
Fax: (591) 2 211 3538
Electronic mail: delpueblo@defensor.gov.bo
Fiscalía General de la Republica
Fiscal General de la República
General Office Public Prosecutor of the Republic
General Prosecutor of the Republic
Dr. Mario Uribe Melendres
Address: Calle España 79 esq. San Alberto
Telephones: (591) 2 646 1606, (591) 2 645 5361, (591) 2 645 3976, (591) 2 645 2137, (591) 2 644 0445, (591) 2 645 3081
Fax (591) 2 645 1052, (591) 2 645 1047
Electronic mail: info@fiscalia.gov.bo
Fiscalía de distrito de La Paz
Office of Public Prosecutor of La Paz district
Sr. Fiscal de Distrito Felix Santiago Ugarte.
Tel: (591) 2 240 6047.

With copy to:

Alex Bernabe
juabec200@gmail.com
Marcelo Ernesto Ferreyra
IGLHRC
mfferreyra@iglhrc.org

LETTER SAMPLE

Dear Sir:

We are deeply worried about the events of June 30th in La Paz City.

Local activists were preparing to celebrate a march for Respect for the Sexual Diversities Day, when one of the floats that would have been in the parade was attacked with a dynamite charge. As a result, three activists were wounded in the explosion.

We urgently ask you to proceed quickly, investigating this crime directed at gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people. We encourage you to search for all the people involved in this incident and to guarantee that once they have been identified, they are punished according the law. Also, we want to take advantage of this opportunity to ask for suitable police protection for such events to assure that these crimes do not happen again.

Your rapid and thorough action in response to this incident is additionally important as a way to make a statement that violence against people based on their sexual preference and expression will not be tolerated in Bolivia.

We hope that this lamentable incident can result in a productive discussion on the peaceful coexistence of the diversity of sexual orientations and expressions in Bolivia. The authorities can - and must - ensure the space and frames of reference for this debate, emphasizing the values that are consecrated in documents of human rights, binding in Bolivian law, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights. Both affirm that, “all human beings are born equal in dignity and rights.” To be able to enjoy the equal protection of the law without discrimination and with effective remedies for violations of human rights, is part of these fundamental rights.

Sincerely,
Name, address, affiliation

BACKGOUND

Last Saturday, on June 30th, 2007, there were events to commemorate the Day of Respect For Sexual Diversities in several cities in Bolivia. The cities of La Paz, Cochabamba, Tarija and Santa Cruz prepared parallel events.

In previous years, in the cities of La Paz and Santa Cruz, people who participated were attacked with rotten tomatoes and eggs by people in the crowd.

For that reason, in spite of their initial skepticism, the activists of the cities of Tarija and Cochabamba, where this type of event occurred for the first time, joyfully faced the acceptance of the public, with applause, congratulations and whistles of support at the parades. Several institutions supported the events, such as the Ombudsman, the Institute of Human Development, and the Institute of Feminine Formation, among others.

The activities were also well received by the population of Santa Cruz until close to the end of the parade, when some people threw eggs and ice cubes at a car of travesties.

In the City of La Paz, where people were still preparing to start the celebrations, one of floats of the parade was attacked with a dynamite charge. As a result, six of the activists were wounded.

INTERNATIONAL LEGAL FRAMEWORK

The rights to life, to liberty, and to security of person are protected by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in Article 3; by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in Articles 6 and 9, by the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights (IAHRC) in Articles 4 and 7.

The rights of human rights defenders are protected by the UN Declaration on the Rights and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (G.A. res.53/144, U.N. Doc. U.N. Doc. A/RES/53/144 - 1999), which affirms: "Everyone is entitled, individually and in association with others, to be effectively protected under national law in reacting against or opposing, through peaceful means, activities and acts, including those by omission, attributable to States which result in violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms as well as acts of violence perpetrated by groups or individuals that affect the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms." (Article 12.2). It adds that, "In this connection, everyone is entitled, individually and in association with others, to be protected effectively under national law in reacting against or opposing, through peaceful means, activities and acts attributable to States that result in violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as acts of violence perpetrated by groups or individuals that affect the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms" (Article 12.3).

Bolivia ratified the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights in 1982, and the Inter-American Convention in 1979. The Universal Declaration is considered part of international law, and is binding on all member states of the United Nations, including Bolivia.

Article two of the Decree of Vindication of Human Rights of the Municipal Government of La Paz City guarantees the right to find the conditions for one’s own political, cultural, social, economic, and ecological accomplishment without discrimination due to color, age, gender, sexual choices, language, religion, level of income, opinion, or nationality.