The following information reports U.S. Government priorities and activities of the U.S. mission in Bolivia to promote democracy and human rights. For background on Bolivia's human rights conditions, please see the 2009 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
and the International Religious Freedom Reports
Part 1: U.S. Government Democracy Objectives
The U.S. Government's human rights and democracy objectives include fostering democratic stability and transparency and countering international crime and drug activity. The United States prioritizes engaging the Bolivian government to affirm the importance of judicial independence; freedom of the press; a healthy civil society; adherence to internationally recognized labor standards; respect for due process and international legal and human rights principles; effective governance and balance between the branches of government; free and fair elections; protection of women's and indigenous persons' rights; continued integration of human rights doctrine in the security forces; and the fight against corruption.
The United States will follow closely the government's efforts to implement its new constitution and engage officials to ensure adherence to international human rights principles as it coordinates indigenous and "ordinary" justice systems and other reforms. To achieve these objectives, U.S. officials consult and collaborate with members of the diplomatic corps, the UN, government institutions, NGOs, indigenous movements, labor unions, and other organizations, working with them to encourage reforms and discuss problems related to human rights and democracy.
Part 2: Supporting Top Priorities and Other Aspects of Human Rights and Democratic Governance
U.S. officials routinely highlight the importance of democracy, human rights, and social inclusion during senior-level visits and discussions with government officials, civil society, and the media. The United States will continue its dialogue with the government to establish a bilateral framework agreement, which will establish modalities for constructive engagement. U.S. engagement through foreign assistance programs has been cut back sharply at the initiative of the country's government. In July 2009 the U.S. Government terminated most U.S. democracy and public administration programs at the request of government officials. Nonetheless, the United States, with its partners, continues to engage the government on issues of judicial independence and maintenance of due process during the implementation of the country's new constitution. Successful conclusion of a bilateral dialogue could allow some democracy and governance programming to return, including municipal strengthening, justice center projects, and local capacity building, especially in judicial administration.
The United States supports civil society and the media as key facilitators in democracy promotion. The United States, with its partners, organizes workshops on journalistic ethics, practicing sound journalism in challenging political environments, and the role of the media in a democracy. The U.S. Government also currently funds two separate programs to combat the worst forms of child labor in the country.
U.S. programs send underprivileged and indigenous university and high school students to colleges and high schools throughout the United States to study U.S. society, civics, and democracy. The U.S. Government sponsors awareness-raising seminars for the public regarding the prevalence of violence against women and children, using speakers from the legislature, the public prosecutor's office, the police family protection brigade, and civil society representatives. The United States helped establish a women's leadership network, led by female parliamentarians, that represents one of the few successful forums for multiparty debate and legislative development in the country.
U.S. security assistance programs routinely underscore the importance of human rights through training for police and military personnel on topics such as internationally accepted principles of nonlethal crowd control and criminal investigation. The United States has provided technical assistance and financial support to four police trafficking-in-persons units operating in El Alto, La Paz, Santa Cruz, and Cochabamba, and is working with the government to open six additional units along the borders with Brazil, Peru, and Argentina this year. U.S. assistance also supports a nationwide program, sponsored by the country's legislature, to address women's rights in the national police force.