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Print this pageBOLIVIA: Children's Rights in UN Treaty Body Reports




Child Rights International Network

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UN Treaty Bodies report


Observations of all UN Treaty Bodies and their follow-up procedures. This does not include the Concluding Observations of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child which are available here:

Please note that the language may have been edited in places for the purpose of clarity.


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UN Human Rights Committee


Review date: 14 - 16 October 2013

Concluding observations issued: 29 October 2013

Reproductive rights: The Committee is concerned about the high maternal mortality rate owing to unsafe abortions, and the alarming number of women being prosecuted for having undergone illegal abortions. It is also concerned about the requirement to obtain prior judicial authorisation to perform a therapeutic abortion following cases of rape, rape of a minor, and incest. Also concerned about the fact that only six abortions were performed legally following judicial authorisation. The Committee is also concerned about the high rate of pregnancy among adolescents.

The Committee recommends that the State Party:

a) Repeal the requirement of obtaining judicial authorisation prior to performing therapeutic abortion following a pregnancy as a result of rape, rape of a minor, or incest, with the aim of guaranteeing access to a safe and legal abortion in these cases;

b) Refrain from prosecuting women for having undergone an illegal abortion because of the barriers posed by the requirement to obtain prior judicial authorisation; and

c) Ensure the effective implementation of current national health plans and education and awareness-raising programmes that address the importance of the use of contraception and the right to sexual and reproductive health, guaranteeing its implementation at school and university levels, as well as within the media.

Justice and liberty: The Committee is concerned about the high number of children currently living in prisons with their families.

The Committee recommends that the State Party ensure that the presence of children with their mother or father in a prison only occurs in cases in which it is in the best interest of a child. When this is not the case, that an effective alternative care system be in place.


Observations adopted: 25 March 1997

The Committee is also concerned about the exploitation of children in employment, including the practice of the “criadito” and the growing numbers of street children. (para. 23) The Committee urges the State party to take effective measures to abolish the practice of the “criadito”. (para. 32)

A/44/40 paras. 405-453

Observations adopted: 29 September 1989

With reference to article 23 of the Covenant, members of the Committee asked what the difference was in Bolivia, from a legal standpoint, between free or de facto unions and marriage, whether the country had an information policy on methods of contraception or whether such information was prohibited. They also asked for details concerning the criminal respondibility of a mother in the event of failure by her to fulfil her duty of assistance to her minor child. (para. 427)

Concerning article 24 of the Covenant, it was asked what the working age for children was under Bolivian labour legislation. It was also asked to what extent the National Board for the Protection of Minors was concerned with minors in detention, what was bein~ done for abandoned children and street children and, with regard to the right of children to acquire 8 nationality, what the legal position of 8 child born in Bolivia would be if neither of the child's parents was of Bolivian nationality. (para. 428)

With regard to article 24 of the Covenant, he pointed out that the Bolivian Labour Code set the minimum age for employment at 14. However, it was difficult to ensure that the provisions concerning work by minors were observ~d in a poor country such as Bolivia. A number of private organizations were actively combating the phenomenon of juvenile vagrancy, which had seriously wQrsened, on account of cocaine trafficking. As far as the nationality of children was concerned, Bolivia applied the jus sanguinis rule. (para. 448)


UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights


Last reported: 6 and 7 May 2008

Observations adopted: 16 May 2008

The Committee is concerned that the majority of its recommendations from 2001 in connection with Bolivia’s initial report were not followed up and that the State party has not addressed more effectively the following areas of concern, which remain valid:

(c) The high incidence of children in the State party subjected to physical and mental abuse;

(d) The persistence of the exploitation of children in employment, especially indigenous children, particularly through the use of “criaditos”; (para. 14)

Medical care: The Committee notes that SUMI provides free medical care for children up to the age of 5 and their mothers; the Committee is nonetheless concerned at the lack of effective coverage given that not all children in this age group and their mothers benefit from the scheme. (para. 22)

Ill-treatment: (c) The Committee recommends that the State party should conduct a study to determine the number and situation of children in Bolivia who are subjected to physical and mental ill‑treatment, and that, based on the findings of this study, it should take the necessary legislative and practical child protection measures; (para. 27)

Child labour: (d) The Committee encourages the State party to redouble its efforts to eliminate child labour, especially in domestic service, taking all appropriate legislative and practical measures to compensate families that stop receiving income from child labour. The Committee also calls upon the State party to carry out inspections in workplaces and to take the necessary steps to prevent the exploitation of child workers and punish those responsible; (para.28)


UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination


Last reported: 15 and 16 February 2011

Observations adopted: 4 March 2011

The Committee is concerned at reports of discrimination and hostility against migrants in the State party and the particular vulnerability of asylum-seekers, unaccompanied foreign children and trafficked women. The Committee is also concerned about asylum-seekers’ lack of identity documents, cases of arbitrary refoulement of refugees and the lack of national legislation consistent with international standards of protection of refugees (art. 5).

The Committee encourages the State party to develop legislation establishing the rights of refugees and providing that identity documents are to be issued free of charge and to furnish appropriate ongoing training for public officials, including border agents, to ensure that they do not make use of procedures that violate human rights. The Committee recommends that the State party continue to cooperate with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and urges it to ensure that no refugees are forcibly returned to a country where there are substantial grounds for believing that they may suffer serious human rights violations. The Committee calls on the State party to step up its efforts to develop and implement educational campaigns to change the public’s perceptions and attitudes so as to combat racial discrimination in all sectors of society. (para. 21)


Last reported: 11 and 12 August 2003

Observations adopted: 21 August 2003

Observations adopted: 21 August 2003The Committee welcomes the numerous measures undertaken for the promotion and protection of human rights, including the recognition in the new Constitution of 1995 of Bolivia as a multi‑ethnic and multicultural State, the recent establishment of the post of Ombudsman (Defensor del Pueblo), the entry into force in 1999 of the new Penal Procedure Code and the approval of the gender equality plan 2003-2007. The Committee also notes with appreciation the establishment in each municipality of an Ombudsman for Children and Adolescents. (para. 7)


UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women


Last reported: 15 January 2008

Observations adopted: 8 April 2008

Child labour: The Committee notes with particular concern the high vulnerability of girls in child labour and the specific threats girls with and without families experience on the street. The Committee also notes the weaknesses in the design and allocation of financial resources to the National Plan for the Progressive Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour (2000-2010), including its focus on girls, which impedes the establishment of mechanisms to monitor and follow up its gender-sensitive impact. (para. 38)

The Committee requests the State party to address the issue of child labour in general, and the vulnerable situation of girls in particular, and to rectify the weaknesses in the design and allocation of financial resources to the National Plan for the Progressive Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour (2000-2010) and align its policies and legislation with the obligations it assumed under International Labour Organization Convention No. 138 concerning the Minimum Age for Admission to Employment (14 years) and Convention No. 182 concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour. (para. 39)

Age of marriage: While the Committee takes note of the State party’s efforts to raise the age of marriage for women, particularly through current reforms to the Family Code, it is concerned that such reform sets 16 years of age as the minimum age for marriage for both males and females, since marriage at such a young age can prevent girls from pursuing their studies and induce them to drop out of school early. (para. 44)

The Committee urges the State party to take the necessary steps in this reform currently under way to raise the minimum age for marriage to 18 years of age for both males and females, in line with the provisions of article 1 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child; article 16, paragraph 2, of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; and the Committee’s general recommendation No. 21 on equality in marital and family relations. (para. 45)


31 May 1995

Because of the absence of child-care centres it was asked whether the burden of caring for their brothers and sisters in addition to helping with housework resided on the shoulders of the young girls and, consequently, prevented them from attending school. (para. 81)

It was asked to which part of the population indigenous people belonged, whether indigenous people were equivalent to people in rural areas and whether non-indigenous people had better living conditions than they. Members asked further how much of the resources of municipalities were dedicated to indigenous women, how they participated in general programmes and whether special programmes were dedicated to them. Members inquired further what type of national and international investment was made in rural development and how it had benefited rural women. They asked whether it had increased their
productivity, whether they could use technology and to what extent it was environment-friendly. Members sought information on whether initiatives were being taken to create pre-school facilities in rural areas and whether non-governmental women’s organizations or women working at the grass-roots level had provided programmes to improve the conditions of the girl child in rural areas. (para. 86)

Members asked about the percentage of abandoned children and inquired whether measures were envisaged to prevent the abandonment of children. They also requested information on surrogate mothers and on adoption of Bolivian children by women outside Bolivia. Information was sought on measures to protect foreign women in their status as wives of Bolivian men and it was asked whether a Bolivian husband could prevent his foreign-born wife and her children from leaving the country. (para. 89)

The Committee would like to see in the subsequent report statistics which show the results of programmes such as the Popular Participation Plan, the National Plan for the Prevention and for Eradication of Violence and the educational reform. (para. 101)


UN Committee against Torture


Last reported: 16 and 17 May 2013

Observations adopted: 29 and 30 May 2013

Child abuse and sexual violence against children: The Committee has received reports on the severity of the problem of child abuse and sexual violence against minors existing in Bolivian educational institutions. Although it notes that the delegation has said that such incidents are isolated cases, the Committee is concerned by the fact that official statistics that could be used to evaluate the situation in this respect have not been made available. The Committee also regrets that so little information was provided by the delegation on the obstacles that hinder victims and their families from gaining access to justice. The Committee will be closely following the progress of the petition submitted to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights concerning the case of the girl child Patricia Flores (arts. 2 and 16).

The Committee urges the State party to take steps to prevent the sexual abuse of children in its schools, to mount an appropriate response to cases of such abuse and, in particular, to:

(a) Urge all the relevant authorities to investigate such abuses and to bring the suspected perpetrators to trial;

(b) Set up effective complaints mechanisms and mechanisms for the provision of comprehensive assistance to victims and their families that will afford them protection, access to justice and redress of the harm suffered;

(c) Ensure that victims have access to specialized health-care services in the areas of family planning and the prevention and diagnosis of sexually transmitted diseases;

(d) Develop ongoing awareness-raising and training programmes that focus on this problem for teachers and other civil servants involved in victim protection;

(e) Compile a broader range of data on this issue.

The State party should ensure that the persons suspected of having murdered the child Patricia Flores are brought to trial and, if found guilty, punished appropriately. It should also make certain that her family members receive full and effective redress. (para. 16)

Prison conditions: The Committee is alarmed by the extent of overcrowding in the State party’s jails. The delegation has indicated that the mean rate of overcrowding in the prison system is 193 per cent, with a total prison population of 14,272 inmates being held in facilities built to house 4,864. While taking note of the fact that new facilities are being built and of Presidential Decree No. 1445, which deals with pardons, of 22 December 2012, the Committee is of the view that the impact of these measures will be minimal, given the sharp increase in the prison population in recent years and the large percentage of the prison population that is made up of people awaiting trial (83.3 per cent). The Committee regrets that it has not received the additional information that it requested on progress in the implementation of the National Human Rights Action Plan in this area. Nor has it received the information requested from the State party about the riots and disturbances that frequently occur in the country’s jails as prisoners protest about failures to pay the daily food allowance, demand better medical care and a reduction in overcrowding, and protest against decisions taken by prison administrators on such issues as the restriction of visiting hours or the transfer of minors from rehabilitation centres. In addition, the Committee is concerned by reports describing the power wielded by organized gangs of prisoners in some correctional facilities, cases of abuse and extortion, and violent incidents among inmates. It is also concerned by the fact that remand prisoners are not always held separately from convicted prisoners and by the existence of mixed prison facilities in which female inmates have become victims of sexual violence, as acknowledged by the delegation of the State party (arts. 2, 11 and 16).

The Committee urges the State party to take the necessary steps to ensure that prison conditions are in keeping with the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners approved by the Economic and Social Council in its resolution 663 C (XXIV) of 31 July 1957 and its resolution 2076 (LXII) of 13 May 1977 and, in particular, to:

(a) Redouble its efforts to relieve overcrowding in the prison system by using non-custodial measures in accordance with the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for Non-custodial Measures (the Tokyo Rules), as adopted by the General Assembly in its resolution 45/110 of 14 December 1990, and the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women Offenders (the Bangkok Rules), as adopted by the General Assembly in its resolution 65/229 of 21 December 2010;

(b) Increase the level of resources allocated for inmates’ meals and for medical and health care as a matter of urgency;

(c) Proceed with the work being done to improve and expand prison facilities in order to remodel those facilities that do not meet international standards;

(d) Establish the full authority of the State in all correctional facilities;

(e) Take steps to prevent inter-prisoner violence, including sexual violence, and investigate all such incidents so that the suspected perpetrators may be brought to trial and victims may be protected;

(f) Ensure that different categories of prisoners are housed in separate institutions or parts of institutions, taking account of their sex, age, criminal record, the legal reason for their detention and the necessities of their treatment.

A/56/44 paras. 89-98

10 May 2001

No mention of child rights


UN Committee on Migrant Workers


Last Reported: 16 and 17 April 2013

Observations adopted: 26 April 2013

Data collection: The Committee notes with interest that the State party included questions about migration for the first time in the 2012 population census. However, the Committee observes the lack of information relating to the various criteria needed to evaluate the effective implementation of the Convention, particularly as regards migrants in transit, women migrants, unaccompanied child migrants and cross-border and seasonal migrant workers. In particular, the Committee is concerned about the limited coordination between the National Institute of Statistics, the Directorate-General of Employment and the Directorate-General of Migration in terms of sharing information on migration. (para. 18)

The Committee reiterates its previous recommendation to the State party (CMW/C/BOL/CO/1, para. 18) and encourages the State party to create a sound centralized database covering all aspects of the Convention and to include in it systematic data disaggregated to the extent possible with a view to adopting an effective migration policy and applying the provisions of the Convention. It also recommends that the State party should take steps to improve inter-institutional coordination and ensure that the National Institute of Statistics has the human and financial resources it needs to fulfil its mandate as set out in Decree-Law No. 14100. (para. 19)

Human trafficking: The Committee takes note of the State party’s efforts to deal with human trafficking but expresses concern at the lack of data on the scale of the phenomenon in the State party and, especially, on the number of cases in vulnerable groups such as women and children. It also reiterates its deep concern about the limitations of the policy on prevention, protection and assistance for the victims of trafficking (CMW/C/BOL/CO/1, para. 42). (para. 44)

The Committee recommends that the State party should draw up and implement a national strategy to combat trafficking in persons, and particularly trafficking in women and children, which includes the following measures:

(a) Systematically collecting disaggregated data on human trafficking;

(b) Ensuring compliance with Comprehensive Act No. 263 on human trafficking and smuggling and allocating sufficient financial and human resources to the Plurinational Council on Human Trafficking and Smuggling to make sure that the Act is implemented;

(c) Stepping up its campaigns to stop human trafficking, especially in border areas where the highest numbers of trafficking victims are recorded;

(d) Affording protection and assistance to all victims of human trafficking, particularly by providing shelters and implementing projects to help the victims of trafficking to rebuild their lives;

(e) Reinforcing training for police officers, law enforcement officers, judges, prosecutors, labour inspectors, teachers, health workers and the staff of the State party’s embassies and consulates, and distributing more widely the Single Protocol for Special Assistance to the Victims of Trafficking and Smuggling. (para. 45)


Last reported: 16 and 17 April 2008

Observations adopted: 24 April 2008

The Committee is concerned about the situation of children staying in Bolivia, whose mothers havemigrated abroad, and the lack of information in this regard. As recognized by the State party, this situation has a very negative impact on their social development. (para. 38)


UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Convention ratified: 16 November 2009

No observations available, the State party's report submitted: 16 December 2011


UN Committee on Enforced Disappearance

Convention ratified: 17 December 2008

No observations available, the State party's report submitted: 23 January 2013

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Last updated 29/11/2013 12:47:46

Please note that these reports are hosted by CRIN as a resource for Child Rights campaigners, researchers and other interested parties. Unless otherwise stated, they are not the work of CRIN and their inclusion in our database does not necessarily signify endorsement or agreement with their content by CRIN.

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