Tuesday, October 18, 2011

UN to investigate Bolivia repression

Sat Oct 8, 2011
Source: PressTV

The Confederation of Indigenous Peoples of Eastern Bolivia (CIDOB) marches against the proposed Amazon highway (file photo)

The UN and other rights groups are ready to investigate Bolivia's repression of indigenous people amid protests to block a proposed highway which cuts through the Amazon rainforest.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) have accepted a request to probe the violent police repression of indigenous peoples, said Bolivia's anti-corruption minister, Nardy Suxo, Reuters reported.

Ongoing demonstrations have recently become violent, with police firing teargas and injuring 74 people in a September 25 government crackdown.

On Friday, during the second day of a partial 48-hour strike, thousands of Bolivian union workers, miners and teachers took to the streets and chanted slogans against President Evo Morales.

They criticized the president, calling the highway a massacre that would not only endanger the environment of the Amazon, but would also encourage illegal settlements.

Angry protesters carried a coffin symbolically showing the death of Morales and his ruling MAS party. During Morales' election campaign, MAS advocated indigenous rights and the protection of "Mother Earth."

Meanwhile, indigenous protesters are continuing their march from the eastern Amazon lowlands to the Bolivian capital, La Paz.

Defense Minister Cecilia Chacon resigned in protest at the police action.

Interior Minister Sacha Llorenti and his deputy Marcos Farfan have also stepped down to protest “police brutality.”

The Bolivian government claims that the road is necessary for the development of the country by linking remote areas to market towns.

The 300-kilometer (185-mile) highway would run through the Isiboro S├ęcure Indigenous Territory and National Park (TIPNIS), home to around 50,000 natives hailing from different indigenous groups.

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