725 documented attacks on civic space in Bolivia in 2022
The UNITAS Observatory of Human Rights Defenders documented 725 attacks on civic space in Bolivia in 2022. Of these cases, 59 were violations of the right to freedom of association, which represents a considerable increase compared to the previous year's figures. The violations included obstructing activists ability to defend rights (24 cases); criminalisation of individual and groups of activists (16 cases); the government's failure to protect HRDs at risk (8 cases); and threats against HRDs (11 cases).
725 violaciones a las libertades fundamentales en Bolivia, el 2022— Red UNITAS (@redunitas) March 30, 2023
Es el total de violaciones a las libertades de expresión, de asociación y de reunión pacífica, a la institucionalidad democrática y al derecho a defender derechoshttps://t.co/4xgxYym67f
In its report, the Observatory documented 204 violations in 2022 of the right to peaceful assembly in Bolivia, including arrests of protesters, restrictions on the ability to protest, and criminalisation of the right to protest. The Observatory also reported that there was excessive use of force by the police, resulting in cases of protesters being injured.
According to the Inter American Press Association report on Bolivia, published in April 2023, freedom of speech and freedom of the press have been repressed due to government initiatives and ongoing impunity.
Although there have been some advances in the defence of these rights, for instance on 12th April 2023, a legislator withdrew a proposal that would have regulated social networks, a bill that the National Press Association had warned could be used as a tool for censorship, journalists and independent media continue to face repressions and are subjected to controls and inspections for publishing critical reporting on the government and its policies.
The UNITAS Observatory of Human Rights Defenders documented 35 attacks on freedom of the press in Bolivia from January to April 2023. 14 cases were attacks on journalists. Other cases included obstructing journalists' access to information, and in a number of other instances, the authorities failed to protect the press in certain situations when it was their duty to do so.