UK rights chief urges action to ensure peaceful elections in Bolivia 

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UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet. [UN Photo/Antoine Tardy]

GENEVA, Switzerland — UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Friday urged Bolivia’s authorities, political and other actors to refrain from any actions that could undermine the peaceful conduct of the general elections taking place on Sunday.

In light of the political and human rights crises unleashed during the previous attempt to carry out these elections a year ago, Bachelet expressed hope that Sunday’s elections would take place in a calm, participatory and inclusive manner, in an environment that ensures respect for the human rights of all people in Bolivia.

“I welcome the Bolivian people’s determination to participate in the elections. Everyone should be able to exercise the right to vote in peace, without intimidation or violence. These elections represent an opportunity to really move forward on social and economic fronts, and to defuse the extreme polarization that has been plaguing Bolivia over the past few years,” Bachelet said.

The High Commissioner expressed serious concern at the inflammatory language and threats made by some political actors in recent weeks, as well as the increasing number of physical attacks that have been taking place.

“It is essential that all sides avoid further acts of violence that could spark a confrontation,” she said. “No one wants to see a repeat of last year’s events, which led to extensive human rights violations and abuses, including at least 30 people killed and more than 800 injured – and ultimately to everyone losing out.”

The UN Human Rights Office deployed a mission to Bolivia in November 2019. The mission remains in the country, to monitor and report on any human rights violations and abuses, including in the context of the elections.

The first report of the mission is available here.

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