UN expert deplores antiindigenous violence in Bolivia

18 September 2008The United Nations expert on the human rights of indigenous people today condemned the recent wave of violence in Bolivia directed at indigenous communities, individuals and institutions that work in their defence. James Anaya, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people, expressed deep concern that these attacks are occurring in a context of a systematic policy adopted by officials in four eastern regions to counter Government initiatives aimed at guaranteeing the rights of indigenous people.“I condemn the ongoing acts of violence perpetrated against indigenous and rural people as well as the threats made against their representatives,” he said.In recent weeks, the hostility has resulted in dozens of deaths, hundreds of injured and in an undetermined number of people disappearing from the Andean country, according to a statement in his press release.“I particularly denounce the murders committed on 11 September 2008 in Porvenir, Department of Pando, when paramilitary groups ambushed and killed members of the Rural Workers Union of Pando and students at the Filadelphia Teachers Training College, the majority of whom are indigenous,” said James Anaya.The Special Rapporteur called for an urgent end to the violence and urged State authorities to take all necessary steps to protect the human rights and freedoms of the affected indigenous and rural groups, as well as investigate the recent human rights violations and bring those responsible to justice.

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