(bulletin from the Andean
According to denunciations from the Nueva
Tapacari Community in the Chapare coca-growing region, an UMOPAR (US-funded
anti-drug police) unit occupied the region, beat residents and forcibly
took them to nearby hills. UMOPAR agents interrogated them about
the whereabouts of police officer Silvano Arroyo, reported missing since
October 10, 2000. Apparently no one was detained during this mission.
Representatives of the Chapare Human Rights Ombudsman's office (Defensor
del Pueblo) confirmed the presence of approximately 50 armed UMOPAR officers
and four plainclothes agents leaving the area at 1:30pm.
Affected individuals include:
It is important to note that UMOPAR carried
out this mission without the presence of a prosecutor, although Bolivian
law requires one to be present.
Nicolas Coaquira Jachacata -- Medical certificate
issued by the forensic doctor of Bolivian Ministry of Justice, Justice
and Human Rights Center confirms swelling and bruising on the nape of his
neck, back, both thighs, right arm and possible multiple fracture of his
Benancio Mamani Morales -- Representatives
of the Human Rights Ombudsman's office confirmed evidence of blows to his
hands, back and other parts of his body.
Casiano Inocente Mamani -- Medical certificate
issued by Ministry of Justice forensic doctor verifies swelling of the
back of his right hand, the inability to move his fingers, (indicating
a possible fracture), severe bruising on the inside of his left leg, and
bruising near his left ear.
Ponciano Quispe Ticona
Valentina Quiroz and her 10 year-old son
The absence of prosecutors, torture, and
illegal detentions have characterized UMOPAR-led search missions for the
missing and murdered officers since their initiation in October of last
year. It is essential that Bolivian police forces and prosecutors
respect clearly established legal norms in their investigations and respect
the constitutional guarantees of all detainees, suspects and residents
of the region.
HUMAN RIGHTS OBSERVERS ATTACKED:
A shot was fired at Dr. Godofredo Reinicke
(Chapare Human Rights Ombudsman) and his legal assistant, Silvano Arancibia
(the bullet barely missed Arancibia), as they entered the region on foot
with two residents to investigate the denunciations.
After several hours in the region they
discovered that all the tires on their jeep had been punctured.
They were later denied access to the UMOPAR
anti-drug base in Chimore for over an hour, although Bolivian law mandates
that representatives of the Human Rights Ombudsman's office must be allowed
immediate entry into all government offices.
These incidents indicate the continuation
of a disturbing pattern of harassment and lack of respect for human rights
monitors, as well as obstruction of their investigations that began during
the national road blockades in September and October of last year.
The following help is needed from the international
(Visit AIN at http://www.scbbs-bo.com/ain/
online, or e-mail [email protected]
for further information.)
-- END --
Pressure the Bolivian Government to guarantee
the safety of human rights monitors and allow them to carry out investigations
ithout impediments or harassment.
Insist that Bolivian security officers and
legal representatives carry out all investigations within the established
legal framework, respecting due process and international human rights
Insist that UMOPAR and other security officers
who violate these norms face appropriate legal consequences in the civilian
court system, instead of internal disciplinary action.
Insist that the US government withhold funding
for any unit of the security forces (such as UMOPAR) that commit gross
human rights violations when there is no evidence that sufficient steps
are being taken to bring the individuals responsible to justice (as stipulated
by the Leahy Amendment).
Issue #170, 1/26/01
Strange Days in the Land of Enchantment: Drug Reform Groups Play Key Role as Battle Over Gov. Johnson's Package Heats Up | Pataki Fleshes Out Rockefeller Drug Law Reform Package | Clinton Commutes a Few More Drug Sentences at Last Minute | Columbia: New Administration in Washington, Same Old Game? | Chapare, Bolivia Community Charges Torture and Human Rights Violations by US-funded Anti-Drug Force | New RAND Study Finds Federal Agencies Overstate Drug Treatment and Prevention Spending | Belgium Decriminalizes Marijuana for Personal Use, Users Must Grow Their Own or Buy it in the Netherlands, Says Government | New Zealand Parliament Again Reviewing Cannabis Laws | Bush on Drugs: The New President Speaks Up to CNN | Calling All Activists: Ashcroft, Hemp | The Reformer's Calendar: LA, Philly, Portland, New York, DC, SF, Minneapolis, St. Petersburg, Fort Bragg, Miami, Amsterdam, New Delhi
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