United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues – Mission report from Bolivia

This report, undertaken under the mandate of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and at the request of the Government of Bolivia, concludes that forced labour exists in the Chaco region, along with grave violations of international treaties ratified by Bolivia. The Mission appreciates the decision announced by Bolivian Government officials to adopt measures aimed at eradicating conditions and situations preventing the full exercise of human rights.

The Mission of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues confirms once again the existence of servitude, forced labour and abuses against indigenous peoples, particularly against members of the Guaraní people, on the estates of the Chaco, already denounced by the Government (Presidents Mesa and Morales), the ILO, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of the Indigenous Peoples and by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the OAS. The Mission also finds that the living conditions of the Guaraní people have deteriorated sharply, due to attacks and threats against leaders, the expulsion of leaders’ families, and the division of Guaraní community organizations by using municipal and departmental resources. The Mission therefore urgently calls upon the national and departmental authorities, as well as the international community, multilateral and bilateral organizations and NGOs to work closely together to address and resolve the serious food crisis in Guaraní communities and to put an end to violations of the rights of the indigenous peoples of the Chaco.