On 6 November 2019, CCIG hosted the side event ‘Addressing Implementation: Safeguarding the Rights of Children, Youth and Women in Bolivia’ at the Palais des Nations. The event took place in conjunction with Bolivia’s appearance at the 34th Universal Periodic Review session and was co-sponsored by VIVAT International, Franciscans International, Company of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul and Ñañope.
This side event was the fourth and final activity of the project ‘Strengthening Bolivia’s Civil Society in the Context of the 2019 Universal Periodic Review’, which has been a year-long project undertaken by CCIG in collaboration with Edmund Rice International and the Marist International Solidarity Foundation. Funding for the project was provided by the Republic and Canton of Geneva and Adveniat. You can read further about additional activities of this project here.
The purpose of this side event was to build on previous lobbying activities by presenting a dedicated panel to speak to and provide firsthand information on children, youth and women related issues in the UPR submission. It also provided the opportunity to discuss and identify specific area of collaboration among the State and local civil society organisations for the implementation of the UPR recommendations received the day prior.
Moderated by Ms. Maria D’Onofrio, Secretary General of the International Catholic Center of Geneva, the panel featured a wide array of experience and knowledge on both the situation in Bolivia and Latin America. From the Bolivian NGO coalition, Ms Paulina Beltran Rocha and Mr. Andres Canaviri spoke of their lived experience as a domestic violence support worker and a youth activist, respectively. Ms. Beltran Rocha highlighted the increased levels of violence against women and children and the rates of femicide in 2019 alone, as well as detailing the ineffective implementation of Law 348 designed to protect the dignity of women. Language barriers, economic factors and social acceptance were marked as elements which inhibit the full realisation of the relevant laws. Mr. Canaviri spoke via video message about the necessity of school mediation programs aimed at reducing the situation of naturalised violence as well as allowing access to civil space through youth governments. Ms. Maria Magdalena Moser from Fundación Ñañope, Bolivia – Trägerverein Dienstmädchen, Suiza, detailed her extensive experience working with children engaged in child labour, noting the reality of child labour as a by-product of poverty. The final speaker, Ms. Nicoletta Zappile of UPR Info, shared best practices in the implementation of UPR recommendations on children and youth, highlighting the benefits and challenges of using targeted, specific recommendations when addressing issues of concern.
The side event was well attended with several civil society organisations present and participating during the interactive dialogue after the panellists’ presentations. Particular focus was directed towards the next steps of both the Bolivian NGO coalition and the Plurinational State of Bolivia in the monitoring of the implementation of the recommendations received.