Scores of people were injured when police violently dispersed a camp set up by Indigenous protesters during a march to La Paz over plans to construct a road through protected Indigenous territory. There were convictions in the 2003 “Black October” case.
Social tensions increased during the year amid recurring protests over economic issues and Indigenous rights.
In March, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination welcomed legislation passed by Congress in January to combat racial discrimination. However, it expressed concern about its implementation, the under-representation of Indigenous Peoples in decision-making bodies, access to justice and lack of clarity over mechanisms to ensure co-ordination and co-operation with the ordinary justice system in the new Law of Jurisdictional Delimitation.Top of page
On 25 September scores of people were injured when police used tear gas and truncheons to break up a makeshift camp set up near Yucumo, Beni Department, by Indigenous protesters. The protesters were taking part in a 360-mile march from Trinidad, Beni Department, to La Paz in protest at government plans to build a road through the Isiboro-Sécure Indigenous Territory and National Park (Territorio Indígena y Parque Nacional Isiboro-Sécure, TIPNIS), in breach of constitutional guarantees on prior consultation with Indigenous Peoples, and of environmental preservation laws. Police arrested hundreds of Indigenous protesters and took them to the towns of San Borja and Rurrenabaque to be flown home by the military.
The government stated that the road would bring economic development. However, Indigenous protesters said it would open up the area to extractive industries and encourage deforestation and coca production. The police crackdown led to the resignation of the Defence and Interior Ministers and nationwide protests.
In October, President Morales cancelled the project. In November a judge ordered the house arrest of the deputy police commander for allegedly ordering the police operation in Yucumo. Criminal investigations into the actions of the police were continuing at the end of the year.Top of page
Those responsible for serious human rights violations, including enforced disappearance and extrajudicial executions, carried out before democracy was re-established in 1982, continued to evade justice.
By the end of the year, the armed forces had not handed over to prosecutors information relating to past human rights violations, despite Supreme Court orders in April 2010 requiring them to declassify the information. The government did not press for the information to be disclosed.
In February, Gróver Beto Poma Guanto died in hospital two days after being beaten by training instructors at the Condors of Bolivia Military Training School in Sanandita, Tarija Department. Three military personnel remained under investigation in connection with the case at the end of the year. However, despite repeated calls for the case to be transferred to civilian jurisdiction, it remained under investigation in the military justice system, which lacked independence and impartiality.Top of page