For the most recent UPR-info pre-sessions which were conducted in Geneva from the 8th to the 11th of October, CCIG facilitated the participation of a local NGO coordinator as a speaker in the panel discussions regarding Bolivia to advocate for the rights of children, adolescents, youth and women.
The pre-sessions are an opportunity for National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to communicate and liaise with Member States who are then able to transmit these recommendations to the State in question at the official UPR session. The UPR for Bolivia will take place as part of the 34th UPR Session in November 2019.
The pre-session on Bolivia was well attended with over twenty-five permanent missions present including the United States, Poland, Italy, Brazil and Argentina.
With the support of CCIG, Ms. Manuela Isabel Urbina Ramirez presented issues of serious concern affecting children, youth and women, as contained in the joint submission prepared together with Edmund Rice International (ERI), Marist Foundation for International Solidarity (FMSI) and sixteen other local civil society organisations. The submission calls on Bolivia to implement changes in four key areas. First, Bolivia is called to increase the participation of youth at the departmental and national level by implementing adequate procedures to allow consultation and remove unnecessary bureaucracy. Second, Bolivia is called to eradicate child labour and where children are working, to provide adequate health and financial policies, while also promoting the completion of secondary education as paramount. The third recommendation is that there is adequate funding for ensuring the training and the permanence of professionals in relation to all forms of violence against children. Finally, Bolivia is called to properly fund and implement policies aimed at reducing violence against women such as guaranteeing permanence and continuity of reporting personnel, and publicising the relevant laws which protect women in violent situations.
Ms. Urbina Ramirez’s appearance is part of the third activity of the project ‘Strengthening Bolivia’s Civil Society in the Context of the 2019 Universal Periodic Review’, carried out by CCIG, FMSI and ERI with the support of the Canton of Geneva and Adveniat. This lobby activity in preparation for the upcoming UPR of Bolivia consisted in bringing to Geneva two representatives of the local coalition, Ms Manuela Urbina Ramirez and Mr. Mauricio Rodrigo Sinaniz Zambrana to participate in the pre-session and hold bilateral meetings with Permanent Missions in Geneva. In fact, 20 bilateral meetings took place in the week of October 6. This project activity builds on the two previous activities which included in-country consultation with members and organisations of concern which subsequently resulted in the UPR submission, and advocacy meetings held with Embassies in La Paz. Lobbying is now underway to further convince individual Member States to speak to the recommendations presented. The final activity of the project will consist in the organization of a side event during the UPR session in November, to advocate for acceptance of the recommendations by Bolivia.