The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet asked to avoid any action that prevents the holding of peaceful elections this Sunday in Bolivia. The former president of Chile warned that otherwise the country could be plunged into a social crisis again. The request of the High Commissioner went both to the Bolivian authorities and to the different political and social actors in the country. “Nobody wants a repeat of the events of the past year, which resulted in vast human rights violations and abusesBachelet said. For its part, Luis Arce, candidate of the Movement to Socialism (MAS) expressed concern about the lack of transparency in the vote count. The former minister expressed his criticism of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) during a meeting with a body that will act as observers of the election.
“Avoid new acts of violence”
The former president expressed her concern about the development of the electoral process in Bolivia. “I salute the determination of the Bolivian people 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 advance on the social and economic fronts, and to reduce the extreme polarization that has affected Bolivia in recent years, “said the UN official. She also expressed her deep concern about the inflammatory language and threats uttered by some political actors in recent weeks, as well as by the increasing number of physical attacks that were recorded. “It is essential that all parties avoid further acts of violence that could trigger confrontations“said the former president.
Bachelet made mention of the acts of violence that took place in the country after the departure of Evo Morales. “Nobody wants a repeat of the events of the past year, which resulted in vast human rights violations and abuses –Among which there are at least 30 dead and more than 800 injured – and that, ultimately, everyone loses, “stressed the High Commissioner. At the same time, she expressed her wish that Sunday’s elections take place in a peaceful, participatory and inclusive way, in an environment that guarantees respect for the Human Rights of all people.
The UN’s work in Bolivia
In November 2019, the Office of the High Commissioner sent a mission to Bolivia that still remains in the country. The entourage is tasked with monitoring and reporting on the internal situation. In August of this year, the agency published a report detailing the serious human rights violations committed between October 20 and November 25 of last year, amid the political crisis after the presidential elections. The document is based on more than 150 interviews with witnesses, victims, representatives of civil society and authorities.
There the UN had made reference to murders, torture, mistreatment and arbitrary arrests. It also expressed concern about the stagnation in investigations into Sacaba and Senakata Massacres. “I am deeply concerned that, nine months later, there has still been no accountability for the deaths in Sacaba and Senkata, nor for most of the deaths that occurred in the period covered by our report, ”Bachelet had stated. About 30 people died during the days of protest that took place in Bolivia between October 20 and November 25. Of that number at least 20 deaths occurred during police and armed forces operations.
In turn, Arce took advantage of the last days of the campaign to meet with the different organizations that will monitor the electoral process. “We are meeting with the UN representation that is in Bolivia as observers of the elections to be held on October 18 and the entire electoral process,” said the candidate on Twitter. The former minister reported on the irregularities that could be seen during the scrutiny. “We convey our concern about the latest determinations made by the TSE regarding the restrictions to access the minutes in the quick vote count.”, Arce published on the social network. Then he specified that the TSE had reported that the photos of these minutes could not be seen. He also said that several MAS militants were being harassed by de facto government authorities. “We express our concern about the constant political persecution during the campaign. The holding of elections should be with respect for the rights of all ”, said the economist. In particular, he referred to the situation of various social leaders from the city of El Alto, in La Paz.
For his part, the UN special envoy Jean Arnault said that they will do a rigorous monitoring before, during and after the elections. He also stressed that the objective of the mission is also to prevent human rights violations and acts of violence in the country. “We hope that the presence of our colleagues helps to prevent this type of action and that the day of the 18th will be the most peaceful as possible.“Arnault said. In addition to the UN, the Organization of American States (OAS), the European Union (EU), the Permanent Conference of Latin American Political Parties (COPPPAL), Parlasur, the Inter-American Union of Electoral Organizations (Uniore) and the Carter Center, among others.
Arce’s campaign team also denounced the constant threats and provocations made by the Minister of Government, Arturo Murillo. According to the MAS campaign, the minister made reference to groups that would convulse the country on election day. They also mentioned that under this excuse the dependency that depends on Murillo had increased expenses, specifically for the purchase of weapons.