Bolivia - NPM Designation

Opcat status

OPCAT Ratification May 23, 2006
UNCAT Ratification April 12, 1999
NPM Designated

Service for the Prevention of Torture

NPM Type

New Specialised Institution

NPM Legal Framework

Law N° 474 (30 December 2013)

Decree N° 2082 implementing the NPM Law (20 August 2014)

NPM Designated

In December 2013 Bolivia adopted the Law N°474 establishing the Service for the Prevention of Torture to perform the NPM mandate. According to the law, the Service is a body attached to the Ministry of Justice. The NPM started to be operational in July 2016. At the same time, the Ombuds Institution filed a proposal to expand its functions to include the NPM mandate. The proposal was approved by the Chamber of Deputies in August 2016 and is currently pending review by the Senate.

Process

2007-2008

In preparation for a regional OPCAT seminar in MERCOSUR taking place in Paraguay in May 2007, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bolivia convened several meetings with national authorities, civil society organizations and the Ombudsperson’s Office to initiate discussions on NPM options. Several prisoners attended one of the meetings. However, the proposal to establish a working group to take the process forth never took shape and the process of consultations stalled.

During the initial debates about the NPM, there was an incipient consensus to designate a “mixed option” with the participation of the Ombudsperson’s Office and civil society organisations with an established human rights track record. Although the Ombudsperson’s Office was initially open to such a possibility, the institution later announced its intention not to assume the NPM mandate. In September 2007, the APT learned that the Ministry of Justice was also considering having a direct role within the NPM. When questioned about the independence of such an option, authorities replied that the government, supported by social movements, was leading profound “changes of paradigms” which blur the traditional separation between state and civil society.

ITEI, one of the NGOs participating in the NPM consultations, drafted a decree to create a new institution as NPM. Initially drafted as a way to promote debate around a concrete proposal, the draft text was finally presented to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice in 2008. The three institutions met at several occasions to discuss the content and provisions of the draft legislation, which was sent for comments and observations to the OHCHR Office in Bolivia, the Vice Minister of Justice and Human Rights, and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

In December 2008, the comments from the OHCHR Office in Bolivia and the Vice-Minister of Justice and Human Rights were incorporated into the draft NPM proposal. It is worth mentioning that some amendments focused on the need to reinforce the autonomy of the NPM from any other existing institutions. In addition, it was stated that the NPM mandate should not be extended to investigatory functions, as prevention of torture and other ill-treatment is at the core of its mandate.
 

2009-2016

The 2009-2013 National Human Rights Action Plan adopted by Bolivia provided for the establishment and effective functioning of the NPM by 2009.

During its examination by the Committee against Torture (May 2013), the delegation of Bolivia stated that the draft NPM legislation was being examined by the National Council of Economic and Social Policy, before being sent to the National Assembly for its adoption (see Statement for further information).

On 30 December 2013, Bolivia adopted the Law N°474 establishing the Service for the Prevention of Torture to perform the NPM mandate. According to the law, the NPM will be an entity attached to the Ministry of Justice. In August 2014, the Government approved the Supreme Decree regulating the NPM law.

The NPM started to be operational in July 2016. At the same time, the Ombuds Institution filed a proposal to expand its functions to include the NPM mandate. The proposal was approved by the Chamber of Deputies in August 2016 and is currently pending review by the Senate.