Currently, torture and other forms of state violence are still practised in Bolivia despite the facts that Bolivian legislation prohibits torture and Bolivia has signed and ratified international agreements against torture.
Paragraph I of the Article 15 of the Constitution, determines that every person has the right to life and physical, psychological and sexual integrity, and guarantees that no one will be tortured or suffer cruel, inhuman, degrading or humiliating treatment.
Paragraph I of the Article 256 of the Constitution, establishes that international treaties and instruments in the field of human rights, which have been signed, ratified or to which the state has adhered, will be applied preferentially to the national laws.
Conventions Signed and Ratified by Bolivia
Law Nº 1939, 10th of February 1999, ratified the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT).
Law Nº 3298, 12th of December 2005, ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT).
Law Nº 3454, 27th of July 2006, approved the Inter-American Convetion to Prevent and Punish Torture (IACPPT).
The Optional Protocol
In 2003, ITEI carried out an international and national campaign to demand the Bolivian government to sign and ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT). The campaign achieved its objective in 2005, when the government ratified the OPCAT and later enacted it into the law in June 2005.
But what is the OPCAT treaty? It is an instrument whose objective is to prevent torture and ill-treatment through a system of regular visits to places of detention carried out by independent national and international bodies.
Law Proposal against Torture
ITEI drafted a law proposal against torture and for the creation of National Prevention Mechanism. However, the parliament has not passed this law to this date. Today Bolivia has a National Prevention Mechanism but it is under the Ministry of Justice and thus does not meet the condition of independence.
Proposals for the Criminal Code
ITEI together with the Coalition against Torture has drafted two proposals for the definition of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment for the new Criminal Code.
Presentation of the law proposal against torture.