Case Nos. 1735 and 1757(Bolivia)

Case No. 1735, September 14, 1972, denouncing the violation of the right to the benefits of culture (Article XIII of the American Declaration and Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) by the Government of Bolivia, specifically that:

  1. The Government of Bolivia decreed the closing of the universities, whose enrollment totaled some 50,000 students, promising that they would be reopened by February 28, 1972.
  2. Following a series of decrees and resolutions, the universities remained closed in September 1972, more than a year after their closure.

By a note dated October 10, 1972, the Commission requested the Government of Bolivia to provide the pertinent information, in accordance with articles 52 and 44 of the Regulations. It decided, at its Twenty-ninth Session, to postpone consideration of the case until the expiration of the period stipulated in Article 51 of the Regulations.

In a note dated October 25, 1972, the Government of Bolivia replied, forwarding to the Commission two pamphlets issued by the Bolivian Ministry of Information and Sports in which the circumstances surrounding and the reasons for the closing of the centers of study are set forth.

One of the pamphlets recounts the political events that had taken place in Bolivia since 1967 and the other summarizes a series of events related to public order and the actions of students and subversive elements seeking to gain control of the national universities of Bolivia.

In a communication dated December 6, 1972, the Secretariat sent the claimant the pertinent parts of the information provided by the Government of Bolivia and, pursuant to Article 38 of the Regulations, requested additional information on the acts denounced.

That letter was returned by the post office, inasmuch as the claimant had moved without leaving a forwarding address.

In view of the foregoing, the Commission, in examining the status of the case at its Thirtieth Session (April 1973), decided to file it, without prejudice to reopening its examination should the claimant complete the denunciation within a reasonable period of time.

That period continuing until December 31, 1973, the case was filed without further action.

Case No. 1757, November 18, 1972, denouncing the following:
  1. Repression was being carried out in the Republic of Bolivia and had been extended to various sectors of the population, many women having been interned in concentration camps or jails where they had been subjected to torture.
  2. A group of Bolivians approached the International Red Cross, which, according to reports obtained by the claimant, sent a committee to Bolivia to investigate the situation in Achocalla, where three women had denounced the torture to which they had been subjected.
  3. As soon as the investigating committee left, the aforementioned women were removed from Achocalla and their whereabouts has since been unknown; it is feared that they were subject to torture elsewhere or had been murdered.
  4. Twenty-seven persons were being held without trial. A list of the names of those arrested was attached.
  5. In a note dated January 2, 1973, and in accordance with articles 42 and 44 of its Regulations, the Commission requested the Government of Bolivia to provide the pertinent information.

In a note dated January 15, 1973, the Delegation of Bolivia to the Permanent Council replied, informing the Commission that the competent Bolivian authorities would provide the information requested.

Therefore, and in accordance with the recommendation of the Standing Subcommittee, the Commission decided at its Thirtieth Session (April 1973) to send the Government of Bolivia a note expressing the hope that it would receive the information that had been offered in time to consider it at the Thirty-first Session.

Accordingly, the Commission addressed the Government of Bolivia in a note dated June 15, 1973.

At its Thirty-first Session (October 1973), the Commission examined this case in light of the fact that the Government of Bolivia had not provided the information it had offered and that the period for supplying that information, as set forth in Article 51 of the Regulations, had expired. It appointed Dr. Carlos A. Dunshee de Abranches rapporteur, in order to prepare a draft resolution in application of the provisions of articles 51 and 52 of the Regulations.

The rapporteur submitted a draft on the basis of which the Commission, at that session, approved a resolution (OEA/Ser.L/V/II.31,doc.35 rev. 1, October 22, 1973) presuming the events denounced in this case to be confirmed and recommending that the Government of Bolivia adopt appropriate measures for ending the violations of the right to protection from arbitrary arrest and order an investigation to establish the whereabouts of some of the persons mentioned in the claim.

This resolution was communicated to the Government of Bolivia in a note dated December 19, 1973.