COMMUNITIES: SITUATION OF THE GUARANÍ INDIGENOUS PEOPLE AND
CONTEMPORARY FORMS OF SLAVERY IN THE BOLIVIAN CHACO
A. Background and issues to develop
6. This report sets forth the situation of the Guaraní indigenous people in the region known as the Chaco, in Bolivia. The report is focused particularly on the situation of the Guaraní indigenous people subjected to conditions of debt bondage and forced labor. This phenomenon, known by reference to “captive communities,” clearly involves contemporary forms of slavery that should be eradicated immediately. In addition, this report analyzes the situation these communities face in order to gain access to their ancestral territory. The report concludes with recommendations aimed at cooperating with the Bolivian State in its efforts to eradicate these contemporary forms of slavery and to guarantee and protect the human rights of the Guaraní indigenous people, especially their collective property, their right of access to justice, and their right to a dignified life.
7. The report was preceded by a working visit and observation on June 9-13, 2008, which was carried out in the wake of a series of complaints received by the IACHR on the existence of the captive communities during an on-site visit it had made in 2006, whose purpose was to observe the general human rights situation in Bolivia, and during the 131st regular period of sessions of the IACHR. During the 2006 on-site visit, the IACHR found that practices analogous to slavery, in the form of bondage and forced labor, were continuing and affected approximately 600 families who belong to the Guaraní indigenous people in the Bolivian Chaco.
8. In its report on the 2006 visit, entitled “Access to Justice and Social Inclusion: The Road towards Strengthening Democracy in Bolivia,” the Commission referred to the situation of forced labor, bondage, and slavery.
The Commission learned that there are many people who, in a variety of circumstances, have been subjected to situations of bondage analogous to slavery, aggravated in some cases by forced labor, dating back for decades and still persisting because of the lack of any comprehensive and effective response from the State.
9. In that report, the IACHR also made a series of recommendations to the State, especially:
Give priority to measures for eradicating forced labor and bondage, and take immediate steps to strengthen the recognition and regularization of property for persons affected by this situation, and to prevent any weakening of labor and social rights for persons working in the rural sector.
Conduct an immediate analysis of the situation of bondage analogous to slavery and/or forced labor in various parts of Bolivia, including data on all families and persons subjected to this form of life, the related social, cultural and psychological factors, and the various private and State players involved, particularly weaknesses in the various administrative and judicial bodies.
10. On March 11, 2008, during the IACHR's 131st regular period of sessions, a hearing was held on the “Human rights situation of captive communities in Bolivia,” requested by the Consejo de Capitanes Guaraníes and the Centro de Estudios Jurídicos e Investigación Social (CEJIS), with the participation of the State. The petitioners submitted information on the human rights violations of which the captive families, their leaders, and their legal representatives are said to be victims. The representative of the State agreed with the information submitted by the petitioners and reported on the actions it was undertaking in the context of the process of territorial reconstitution of the Guaraní people, for the specific purpose of giving them sufficient lands and freeing their communities from the regime of servitude to which they are subjected. On that occasion, the parties signed a protocol of commitment (acta de compromiso) in which the State undertook to adopt “the measures of protection necessary to ensure the integrity of all the Guaraní families who still live on estates, their leaders and the advisers who accompany the process implementing the plan for the emancipation of the Guaraní people.”
11. On April 25, 2008, the IACHR issued a press release deploring the fact that a large number of indigenous families of the Guaraní people in Bolivia continued in a situation of servitude similar to slavery, and reminding the State of its obligation to “eradicate all situations of bondage and/or forced labor throughout its territory immediately and as a priority matter.”
12. During the working and observation visit to Bolivia in 2008, state authorities presented information on the situation of the captive indigenous communities, referring mainly to the Guaraní people in the Bolivian Chaco. Similarly, the Commission collected information and testimony that verify the continuity, since the last visit by the IACHR in November 2006, of the problems of debt bondage and forced labor as well as the aggravation of the social conflict affecting the Guaraní indigenous people in relation to their claims to their ancestral territory.
13. The Commission deplores the existence in Bolivia of practices of bondage and forced labor, which are absolutely prohibited by the American Convention on Human Rights (“American Convention”) and other international instruments to which Bolivia is a party. The United Nations Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade, and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery defines as practices similar to slavery "debt bondage" and “serfdom, that is to say, the condition or status of a tenant who is by law, custom or agreement bound to live and labour on land belonging to another person and to render some determinate service to such other person, whether for reward or not, and is not free to change his status.”
14. The Commission observes that the situation of bondage and forced labor in which the captive communities live is an extreme manifestation of the discrimination that indigenous peoples have suffered historically and continue suffering in Bolivia. Even though this situation is increasingly drawing the attention of Bolivian and international agencies, such as the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples, and the International Labour Organization, such practices continue.
15. In the report one notes that despite the efforts made by the Bolivian State to address the situation of bondage and forced labor and to facilitate the reconstitution of the Guaraní territory, there are still captive communities that are subject to performing forced labor for debts supposedly contracted, and who most of the time do not receive any salary for their work. The report finds that the members of these captive communities live in extreme poverty and are subjected to cruel punishments, the burning of their crops, and the killing of their animals. In addition, in the Alto Parapetí, the Commission verified the existence of child labor, which is prohibited by domestic statutes and international treaties ratified by the Bolivian State. All this is happening in a context of impunity due to the almost total absence of the State in the Chaco region and the ineffective action of the Public Ministry. This impunity fosters the repetition of these practices, which are incompatible with human rights.
16. The Inter-American Commission recognizes the efforts made by the State to address this situation, and finds that the Bolivian State has attempted to direct its agrarian policy to this end, among others. Nonetheless, the effective observance of new laws and the application of public policies face serious resistance on the part of various political and economic sectors, leading to a climate of social conflict in the region, with persistent opposition to the policies of the State. Nonetheless, the Commission reiterates the State’s obligation to implement the law in terms of indigenous rights, agrarian reform, and labor law so as to help resolve the grave situation affecting the captive communities. In addition, the State has the obligation to investigate, prosecute, and punish the persons responsible for committing these practices, which constitute crimes under Bolivian and international law.
17. The analysis and recommendations contained in this report are based on the regional human rights obligations assumed by the Bolivian State, principally the American Convention on Human Rights, Convention 105 on the abolition of forced labor, Convention 169 concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries (hereinafter, "ILO Convention 169"), the Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade, and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. These recommendations include three categories: (1) recommendations to prevent, investigate, and punish contemporary forms of slavery; (2) recommendations to reconstitute the territory of the Guaraní indigenous people; and (3) recommendations to guarantee access to justice for the Guaraní indigenous people and all other indigenous peoples in Bolivia.
18. The recommendations are focused mainly on addressing the situation of bondage and forced labor by expanding the technical capacity of the State to eradicate such crimes and the need to effectively implement international instruments signed by the State that legislate on the issue. The Commission’s recommendations also emphasize the need for the State to take measures to resolve the underlying problem of access to the land faced by the Guaraní indigenous people.
19. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Rapporteurship on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples reiterate their commitment to work with the Bolivian State to implement solutions to the problems identified. Some steps taken to address this situation make clear the commitment by the members of the State and non-State sectors to effectively hold liable the perpetrators of the violence, and to prevent future acts of violence. These initial steps show the capacity exists to adopt the additional measures that are urgently needed.
B. Working visit and observation in Bolivia in June 2008
20. The Commission made a visit to the Republic of Bolivia on June 9-13, 2008, to collect information on the situation of the communities of the Guaraní indigenous people who are living in servitude and forced labor. This visit came in the wake of the Protocol of Commitment of March 11, 2008, signed at the headquarters of the IACHR during its 131st regular period of sessions by the Bolivian State, the Consejo de Capitanes Guaraníes, and CEJIS. The Commission delegation was made up of Commissioner Luz Patricia Mejía Guerrero, in her capacity as Rapporteur for Bolivia, and Commissioner Víctor E. Abramovich, in his capacity as Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The delegation also included specialists Débora Benchoam and Anexa Alfred; the director of press and outreach, María Isabel Rivero; and administrative assistant Sandra Morin.
21. The visit began June 9 in the city of La Paz and continued with meetings in Sucre on June 10, in Camiri June 11 and 12, and in Santa Cruz on June 12. It concluded with a press conference held in La Paz on June 13, 2008.
22. In the course of its stay in Bolivia, the Commission met with the following state authorities at the national and departmental levels: the Minister of Foreign Relations and Worship; the Minister of Rural and Agricultural Development and the Environment; the Vice-Minister of Land; the Vice-Minister of Labor, Labor Development, and Cooperatives; the Vice-Minister of Citizen Security; the Vice-Minister of the Presidency; the Vice-Minister of Community Justice; the Vice-Minister of Human Rights; the Vice-Minister of Coordination of Social Movements; the President and other members of the Chamber of Deputies; the Human Rights Ombudsman; the Attorney General; members of the Agrarian Tribunal; the Director of Lands; the National Director of the National Agrarian Reform Institute; the National Director of Citizen Security; the Coordinator of Indigenous Peoples and Registration of the Ministry of Justice; the Mayor of Sucre; the Inter-institutional Committee of Sucre; the Mayor of Camiri; members of the prefectura (departmental government) of Santa Cruz; and the presidential representative in Santa Cruz.
23. Meetings were also held with various sectors of organizations of indigenous peoples and civil society, such as the Asamblea del Pueblo Guaraní (APG: Assembly of the Guaraní People), the Consejo de Capitanes Guaraníes de Chuquisaca (CCCH), Capitanías Guaraníes of the Santa Cruz area, Teko Guaraní, Organización Indígena Chiquitana, Confederación de Pueblos Indígenas de Bolivia (CIDOB), Coordinadora de Pueblos Étnicos de Santa Cruz, Federación Sindical Única de Campesinos de Chuquisaca, Confederación Única de Sindicatos Campesinos, Centro de Estudios Jurídicos e Investigación Social (CEJIS), Asamblea de Derechos Humanos de Bolivia, Capítulo Boliviano de Derechos Humanos, Amnesty International, Confederación Sindical de Trabajadores de la Prensa de Bolivia, Pastoral Social Caritas, Centro de Investigación y Promoción del Campesinado (CIPCA), the director of Radio Erbol, Fundación Acción Cultural Loyola, Fundación Tierra, Confederación Sindical Única de Trabajadores Campesinos de Bolivia, and estate owners from Camiri. The delegation also met with representatives of international organizations such as the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and UNICEF.
24. The delegation also made a visit on June 11, 2008, to the Guaraní indigenous community of Itacuatía, situated in the Alto Parapetí area in the province of Cordillera, department of Santa Cruz. That community is made up of persons who had worked under conditions of bondage and forced labor on a nearby estate. On that occasion, the IACHR met with members of the community and received information and testimony on their prior and current living conditions.
C. Preparation and approval of the report
25. This report was approved by the Inter-American Commission on August 3, 2009. Pursuant to Article 58(a) of the Commission’s Rules of Procedure, this report was transmitted to the Bolivian State on September 17, 2009, with the request that it submit its observations within one month.
26. On October 19, 2009, the Bolivian State requested an extension for submitting the respective observations. The extension was granted and the State’s observations were received on November 11, 2009. On December 24, 2009, the Commission approved the publication of this report.
D. Contemporary forms of slavery nationally, regionally, and internationally
27. The existence of contemporary forms of slavery is not a phenomenon found only in the Bolivian Chaco, but also in other regions of Bolivia, and elsewhere in the Americas and around the globe. According to assessments by the International Labour Organization (ILO): “Today, at least 12.3 million people are victims of forced labour worldwide. Of these, 9.8 million are exploited by private agents, including more than 2.4 million in forced labour as a result of human trafficking. Another 2.5 million are forced to work by the State or by rebel military groups.” According to the ILO, the forced labor imposed by private actors is for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation or economic exploitation. Economic exploitation includes work in servitude, forced domestic work, and forced labor in agriculture and in remote rural areas.
28. Worldwide, the regions with the greatest incidence of forced labor in relation to population are Asia and the Pacific (3 victims per 1,000 population), Latin American and the Caribbean (2.5 victims per 1,000 population), and Sub-Saharan Africa (1 victim per 1,000 population). In Latin America, the predominant form of “forced labour is private-imposed for economic exploitation (75% per cent), followed by State-imposed forced labour (16 per cent), and forced labour for commercial sexual exploitation (9 per cent).” As can be observed, in Latin America as in the rest of the regions of the world, forced labor is used at present in the vast majority of cases by private actors. Moreover, the IACHR observes with concern that worldwide, States also use forced labor. In that regard, the States have a duty to investigate and punish these practices, whether used by private actors or by the States themselves.
29. Discrimination, whether on racial, ethnic, social, or other grounds, is the main factor perpetuating contemporary forms of slavery. Along with this discrimination, poverty also represents a factor that perpetuates such practices. In Latin America, these factors of discrimination and poverty impact above all on indigenous peoples in isolated regions where there is almost no state presence to impede such exploitation. As a result of this situation of poverty and discrimination, the members of the indigenous peoples are “compelled to work, or induced into debt which they or even their descendants find impossible to repay despite very long hours of arduous work.”
30. In the Chaco regions of Bolivia and Paraguay, and in the Amazon jungle in Bolivia and Peru, many indigenous agricultural workers fall into a situation of debt bondage as a result of salary advances that they receive from private labor contracting companies. In the Chaco region of Paraguay, discriminatory treatment has been seen against the indigenous peoples (which includes workers belonging to the Guaraní and Enxet peoples, among others) where they receive a salary lower than that paid to non-indigenous workers, the labor legislation is not enforced, and it is common for the indigenous workers to be paid for months of work with a pair of pants, a shirt, and a pair of boots, and in general the women are not paid anything.
31. In Bolivia one finds forms of bondage and forced labor different from those found in the Bolivian Chaco, particularly in the sugar harvest in the department of Santa Cruz and the extraction of chestnuts in the northern Bolivian Amazon. Each year the sugar harvest “mobilizes … tens of thousands of indigenous workers and their respective families” to the sugar cane producing regions in the departments of Santa Cruz and Tarija. This activity involves the recruiting system known as “enganche,” which consists of some companies in Santa Cruz using intermediary labor contractors to recruit the workers in other regions of the country with a predominantly indigenous population. The intermediary gives cash advances that will be discounted from the worker’s future income. According to a study by the ILO, the enganche system leads to a situation of debt bondage and forced labor:
To pay his debt, the farmer who receives an advance has no option other than to work in the place determined by the enganchador—in this case, a sugar plantation in the Santa Cruz region. The farmer cannot repay that advance with money, nor can he look for another recruiter who will give him more money, nor is he in a position to seek other employment in Santa Cruz. The enganche, therefore, is a system of getting labor that entails the worker’s loss of liberty and it takes place in the absence of a developed labor market or a modern credit market.
32. According to the ILO, in 2003, some 21,000 workers in the cane harvest were subjected to some form of forced labor in Santa Cruz; 15,000 of them were recruited using the enganche system and another 6,000 freely took the jobs but were subsequently subordinated to a debt bondage system. It should be noted that in this as in other cases of bondage and forced labor in the rest of the world, there are important differences in the type of exploitation to which the workers are subjected, but in any event as a “result of the debts that they have acquired they have all lost an important measure of liberty.”
33. As evidenced by the study cited, debt bondage and forced labor are practiced in all parts of the world, affecting mainly those sectors of the population that have historically suffered poverty and discrimination. In Latin America, the main victims of this form of exploitation have been the members of indigenous peoples. In Bolivia, indigenous peoples have been subjected to such exploitation not only in the estates in the Chaco, which is the subject of this report, but also in the sugar harvest and in chestnut extraction. While this report refers to the situation of bondage similar to slavery in which the Guaraní indigenous people finds itself in Bolivia, according to studies by the ILO, the Guaraní people are exploited similarly in the Paraguayan Chaco. In addition, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (hereinafter "the Inter-American Court"), in its judgment in the Case of the Yakye Axa Indigenous Community, verified the critical living conditions to which the community was subjected by the estate owners who occupied their ancestral territory:
Also, the first livestock estate in the area was established at a place known as Alwáta Etkok; it was managed by the Chaco Indian Association, which in turn was managed by the Anglican Church. Said estate was known as The Pass and today it is known as Estancia Maroma. The indigenous people who inhabited these lands were employed on that same estate. The Loma Verde and Ledesma estates were established several years later, and the indigenous people of the area worked on them.
In early 1986, the members of the Yakye Axa Indigenous Community moved to El Estribo due to their very bad living conditions on Estancia Loma Verde, where the men either received no wages or these were very low, the women were sexually exploited by Paraguayan workers, and they did not have enough food or health services.
E. Brief introduction on indigenous peoples in Bolivia
34. The Commission notes that in Bolivia, the term campesino (peasant) has been used commonly to refer to the members of the indigenous peoples both in Bolivian society and in the national legal provisions, which would give the impression that the terms campesino and indígena are interchangeable. Nonetheless, the Commission considers it important to clarify that for the purposes of this report, reference will be made to the situation of the indigenous peoples and in particular the Guaraní indigenous people (or “Guaraní people”) in a manner differentiated from the use of the term campesino. At the same time, the Commission clarifies that under international law, self-identification is the main criterion for determining the status as indigenous of the members of those peoples, both individually and collectively.
35. Bolivia has proclaimed itself to be a multiethnic and multicultural State (un Estado multiétnico y pluricultural), and is constituted by 37 indigenous peoples, the majority of them Quechua, Aymara, Guaraní, Chiquitano, and Mojeño, in descending order in the size of their populations. The indigenous peoples constitute the majority of the population in Bolivia, which is reflected in the last census, done in 2001, which indicates that more than 60% of the national population over the age of 15 is indigenous based on the criterion of self-identification, and of this percentage, 55% of the indigenous population in Bolivia lives in the rural area.
36. Even though they represent the majority of the population, the indigenous peoples in Bolivia historically have remained outside the spheres of political and economic power as a result of the deeply rooted discrimination in the political structures of the Bolivian State and society. In addition, the indigenous peoples are affected by poverty to a disproportionate extent compared to other groups of society. Extreme poverty is three times more prevalent in the country’s rural areas, where most of the indigenous people live, than in the urban areas.
37. Bolivia is the poorest country in South America, and ranks as number 117 out of 176 countries in the human development index. According to the 2007-2008 report by the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Report, in Bolivia, life expectancy at birth is 64.7 years, and illiteracy stands at 13.3%, affecting mostly rural communities and mostly women. In the rural area, there are very few health centers, they are widely scattered, mainly in the provincial capitals, plus they don’t have the necessary infrastructure or adequate personnel. The UNDP report indicates that 23% of the population in Bolivia suffers malnutrition, and infant mortality is 52 per 1,000 live births; in the case of children under 5 years, mortality is 65 per 1,000 live births. With respect to the labor situation in Bolivia, of every 100 persons of working age, 29 do not have fixed employment. The minimum wage, as of January 2009, is 647 bolivianos, equivalent to US$91.50, which means less than 22 bolivianos a day.
38. The Commission recognizes the efforts of the Government to achieve a high percentage of literacy, which culminated in the declaration of a “territory free of illiteracy” by UNESCO on December 20, 2008.
39. In this context of poverty and social inequity, the indigenous peoples in Bolivia have sought to vindicate their civil, political, economic, social, and territorial rights within the various historical and political junctures the country has gone through, particularly over the last 50 years. During the period of the so-called “National Revolution,” in 1952 universal suffrage was decreed for all citizens of age, including women and the illiterate. The 1953 Agrarian Reform Law was one of the first legislative measures that recognized the property rights of the indigenous peoples in Bolivia, which had as its purpose to address the situation of unequal land tenure reflected in widespread latifundia. In addition, in 1955, a new education code was issued that made the right to education universal and helped promote the construction of schools in rural areas, where most of the indigenous population lives.
40. In subsequent decades, the indigenous and peasant organizations of Bolivia such as the Confederación Sindical Única de Trabajadores Campesinos de Bolivia (CSUTCB) and the Confederación de Pueblos Indígenas de Bolivia (CIDOB) have played an important role in the Bolivian political scene that coincides with major normative advances in terms of the recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples nationally. In 1991, Bolivia ratified ILO Convention 169 concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries and in 1994 the Political Constitution of the State was amended so as to recognize, for the first time, the multiethnic and multicultural nature of the nation, the rights to original community lands (Tierras Comunitarias de Origen) of the indigenous peoples as well as the juridical personality of the indigenous communities, whose natural authorities “may perform functions of administration of the enforcement of their own laws and regulations as an alternative for dispute settlement.”
41. It should be noted that from 1993 to 1997, the vice-president of Bolivia was Víctor Hugo Cárdenas, the first indigenous person to serve in that post. During that period major strides were made and legislative reforms introduced in the area of indigenous education and political participation. In 1994, the Law on Popular Participation was promulgated to consolidate the “popular participation [of] the peasant and urban indigenous communities in the country’s legal, political, and economic life.” By means of that law, the forms of social organization of the indigenous peoples won legal recognition in the form of Grassroots Territorial Organizations (OTBs: Organizaciones Territoriales de Base), which enable them to administer, manage, and control public services as well as actions related to preserving the environment in their communities.
42. In the area of education, in July 1994, Law 1565 was enacted, recognizing bilingual and intercultural education in the schools in rural areas, and ordering the creation of the Educational Councils of First-Nation Peoples (Consejos Educativos de Pueblos Originarios) that would come to represent each of the indigenous peoples and would participate in the design of education policy so as to favor bilingual and intercultural education.
43. In 1996, after a strong social mobilization of various rural sectors of the country, Law 1715 of October 18, 1996, was enacted. It was known as the “Law on the National Agrarian Reform Service,” and its aim was to deepen the country’s first agrarian reform regime. Law 1715 established the National Agrarian Reform Institute, and provided for a process for clearing title and adjudicating title to lands for the purpose of de-concentrating and redistributing the land to address the territorial demands of the indigenous peoples.
44. With the election of the first indigenous president, Juan Evo Morales Ayma, in 2005, there has been a significant increase in initiatives to favor the rights of indigenous peoples. One example is the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as domestic law. In addition, the agrarian legislation has been amended again by Law No. 3545 on Community Redirection of the Agrarian Reform of 2006 in response to the inconformity expressed by the indigenous movement with the implementation of Law No. 1715.
45. The current Bolivian Constitution contains major advances in the recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples. It guarantees the right of indigenous peoples to “their self-determination in the context of the unity of the State, which consists of their right to autonomy, self-government, culture, recognition of their institutions, and consolidation of their territorial entities.” Significantly, the Constitution also recognizes the indigenous jurisdiction in which the authorities of the indigenous peoples “shall apply their own principles, cultural values, norms, and procedures.” In addition, the right to political participation is recognized for indigenous peoples, who, through their organizations, may nominate candidates chosen through their own norms of communitarian democracy for elective office.
46. The special treatment the current Constitution provides in the area of the rights of indigenous peoples in Bolivia and other initiatives, such as the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Law 3545, represent major initiatives for attaining full observance of the human rights of indigenous peoples. These actions are major points of reference for analyzing the particular situation of the Guaraní people in the Bolivian Chaco and the possible solutions that could be undertaken by the Bolivian State.
 IACHR, Access to Justice and Social Inclusion: The Road towards Strengthening Democracy in Bolivia, 2007, para. 258.
IACHR, Access to Justice and Social Inclusion: The Road towards
Strengthening Democracy in Bolivia,
 IACHR, Access to Justice and Social Inclusion: The Road towards Strengthening Democracy in Bolivia, 2007, paras. 416.30 and 416.31.
 In Protocol of Commitment signed March 11, 2008, at IACHR headquarters.
In addition, the petitioners and the State agreed that the IACHR, in particular the Rapporteur for Bolivia and the Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples should “make a visit to Bolivia… with the objective of being able to verify, in the geographic areas affected, the facts reported that threaten the process of agrarian reform and the security of the captive families of the Guaraní people.” In addition, the State undertook to keep the IACHR informed periodically as to the measures adopted and the gains made within the process of reconstitution of the Guaraní people.
 IACHR, Press Release 17/08: IACHR DEPLORES SITUATION OF CAPTIVE COMMUNITIES IN BOLIVIA. April 25, 2008. Available at http://www.cidh.oas.org/Comunicados/English/2008/17.08eng.htm.
In the press release, the IACHR also condemned the acts of violence that occurred in April 2008 in areas where the process of clearing title to lands was being carried out on behalf of the Guaraní people. The IACHR reminded the Bolivian State of its obligation “to adopt the necessary measures to prevent them from being repeated and to investigate and punish those responsible, with strict respect for human rights.”
 Bolivia ratified the American Convention on Human Rights on June 20, 1979.
 Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade, and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery, done at Geneva September 7, 1956. Entered into force: April 30, 1957, Art. 1.
 Ratified by Law No. 1119 of November 1, 1989, deposited June 11, 1990.
 Ratified by Law No. 1257 of July 11, 1991.
 Acceded to by Supreme Decree No. 19777 of September 13, 1983, elevated to statutory status by Law No. 2116 of September 11, 2000.
 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, approved by the General Assembly September 13, 2007, Art. 17. Elevated to statutory rank by Law No. 3760 of November 7, 2007.
 International Labour Organization, A Global Alliance against Forced Labour. Global report under the follow-up to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, International Labour Conference, 93rd meeting. 2005, para. 37.
According to this ILO report, “Relating this estimate to the current world population, it can be calculated that there are at least two victims of forced labour per thousand inhabitants. In relation to the total world labour force, the minimum estimate corresponds to about four persons per thousand workers. This number is significant but it does not present an insurmountable problem if the will to solve it exists.”
 International Labour Organization, A Global Alliance against Forced Labour, para. 40.
 International Labour Organization, A Global Alliance against Forced Labour, para. 53.
 International Labour Organization, A Global Alliance against Forced Labour, para. 63.
 International Labour Organization, A Global Alliance against Forced Labour, paras. 132-133.
 International Labour Organization, A Global Alliance against Forced Labour, para. 180.
 International Labour Organization, A Global Alliance against Forced Labour, para. 182.
 Eduardo Bedoya Garland and Alvaro Bedoya Silva-Santisteban, Enganche y Servidumbre por Deudas en Bolivia, International Labour Office, DECLARATION/WP/41/2004, January 2005, p. 1.
 Eduardo Bedoya Garland and Alvaro Bedoya Silva-Santisteban, Enganche y Servidumbre por Deudas en Bolivia, International Labour Office, p. 1.
 Eduardo Bedoya Garland and Alvaro Bedoya Silva-Santisteban, Enganche y Servidumbre por Deudas en Bolivia, International Labour Office, p. 1.
 Eduardo Bedoya Garland and Álvaro Bedoya Silva-Santisteban, Enganche y Servidumbre por Deudas en Bolivia, International Labour Office, p. 2.
 Eduardo Bedoya Garland and Álvaro Bedoya Silva-Santisteban, Enganche y Servidumbre por Deudas en Bolivia, International Labour Office, p. 2.
 Álvaro Bedoya Silva-Santisteban, Servidumbre por Deudas y Marginación en el Chaco de Paraguay, International Labour Organization, DECLARATION 45/2005, July 2005.
 I/A Court H.R., Indigenous Community Yakye Axa v. Paraguay Case. Judgment of June 17, 2005. Series C No. 125, paras. 50.11 and 50.13.
 By way of example, the Law on Agrarian Reform, Decree Law No. 3464 of August 2, 1953, provides in its Article 60: “The peasants of the indigenous community do not recognize any form of obligation of personal services or of in-kind contributions.”
Similarly, the Political Constitution of the State, approved on January 25, 2009, at its Article 60 makes reference to “peasants of the indigenous community”:
All of the human collectivity that shares a cultural identity, language, historical tradition, institutions, territoriality, and cosmovision whose existence is prior to the Spanish colonial invasion constitutes a first-nation peasant indigenous nation and people.
 ILO Convention 169 concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries provides at Article1(2) the criteria for applying the term “indigenous” in the following terms: “Self-identification as indigenous or tribal shall be regarded as a fundamental criterion for determining the groups to which the provisions of this Convention apply.” In addition, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples provides in Article 9: “Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right to belong to an indigenous community or nation, in accordance with the traditions and customs of the community or nation concerned." For its part, the Draft American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples notes at its Article 1(2): “Self-identification as indigenous peoples will be a fundamental criteria for determining to whom this Declaration applies. The States shall respect the right to such self-identification as indigenous, individually or collectively, in keeping with the practices and institutions of each indigenous people.”
 The multiethnic and multicultural nature of the State has been recognized in the 2004 Political Constitution of Bolivia, Law No. 2650:
Article 1: I. Bolivia, free, independent, sovereign, multiethnic, and multicultural, constituted in a Unitary Republic, adopts the democratic, representative, and participatory form of government, based on the union and solidarity of all Bolivians. II. It is a Social and Democratic State under the Rule of Law, which upholds as paramount values of its legal order liberty, equality, and justice.”
 See the official website of the National Institute of Statistics of Bolivia. Official population census 2001. Bolivia: Self-identification with native or indigenous peoples of the population 15 years or more, by sex, geographic area, and age group.
 See official website of the National Institute of Statistics of Bolivia. Official population census of 2001. Bolivia: Self-identification with native or indigenous peoples of the population 15 years or more, by sex, geographic area, and age group.
 According to information published on the official website of the National Institute of Statistics of Bolivia (INE). Bolivia: Indicators of extreme poverty, by geographic area, 1999-2006. The intensity of poverty in the urban area is 12.22%, and in the rural area, 38.22% (the data correspond to 2006) Available at: http://www.ine.gov.bo/indice/visualizador.aspx?ah=PC3060101.HTM.
 Human Development Report 2007-2008; Fighting climate change: Human solidarity in a divided world, published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) New York. 2007. P. 233 available as of December 29, 2007. http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/HDR_20072008_SP_Complete.pdf.
The human development index (HDI) is a synthetic measure that combines three dimensions: enjoying a long and healthy life, having education, and having economic resources.
 Human Development Report 2007-2008; Fighting climate change: Human solidarity in a divided world, p. 241.
 In its observations, the State of Bolivia informed the Commission that, by virtue of its National Literacy Program "Yo sí puedo" ("Yes I can"), illiteracy was eradicated in Bolivia, "mainly benefiting 819,417 persons of rural and native populations. This eradication culminated with the declaration in Cochabamba on December 20, 2008, which was certified by UNESCO, recognizing Bolivia as the third territory Free of Illiteracy in Latin America." Observations of the Bolivian State, November 11, 2009.
 Human Development Report 2007-2008; Fighting climate change: Human solidarity in a divided world, p. 265.
 Observations of the Bolivian State, November 11, 2009.
 Law on Agrarian Reform, Law No. 3464 of August 2, 1953.
 Law on Agrarian Reform, Law No. 3464 of August 2, 1953.
Article 57.- The indigenous communities are the private owners of the lands that they possess jointly. The family allocations made in the reviews or those recognized by custom within each community constitute family private property.
Article 58.- The properties of the indigenous communities are inalienable, except for those cases that will be established in a special regulation. They have all the rights and obligations indicated for private and cooperative agrarian properties.
 Law on Agrarian Reform, Decree-Law No. 3464 of August 2, 1953.
Article 12. The State does not recognize the latifundium, which is the rural landholding of large size, variable depending on its geographic situation, which remains unexploited or deficiently exploited with extensive stock-raising, using antiquated tools and methods that lead to the squandering of the human force or by the receipt of land rent by means of tenant farming (arrendamiento), characterized, moreover, in terms of the land use in the inter-Andean zone, by the concessions of parcelas, pegujables, sayañas, aparcerías, or other equivalent modalities such that their profitability, due to the imbalance in factors of production, depends fundamentally on the surplus value produced by the peasants in their capacity as serfs or settlers, and which is appropriated by the landowner in the form of labor-rent, defining a feudal regime, which translates into agricultural backwardness and a low standard of living and of education for the peasant population.
 Political Constitution of the State (Constitución Política del Estado), Law No. 1615 of February 6, 1995, Article 1, 171.
Article 1. Bolivia, free, independent, sovereign, multiethnic, and multicultural, constituted in a Unitary Republic, adopts representative and participatory democracy as its form of government, founded on the union and solidarity of all Bolivians.
Article 171. I. The social, economic, and cultural rights of the indigenous peoples who live in the national territory are recognized, respected, and protected in the framework of the law, especially those relating to their community lands of origin, guaranteeing the use and sustainable exploitation of the natural resources, to their identity, values, languages, customs, and institutions.
II. The State recognizes the juridical personality of the indigenous and peasant communities and of the peasant associations and unions.
III. The natural authorities of the indigenous and peasant communities may perform functions of administration and enforcement of their own norms as alternative dispute resolution, in keeping with their customs and procedures, so long as they are not contrary to this Constitution and the laws....
 Law on Popular Participation No. 1551 of April 20, 1994, Article 4. Available at: http://www.enlared.org.bo/legislacionmunicipal/Archivo/Docs/Leyes/Ley_1551.pdf.
 Law on Popular Participation No. 1551, Article 3, which provides as follows:
Article 3 (Grassroots Territorial Organizations and Representation)
I. The Grassroots Territorial Organizations, expressed in the peasant communities, indigenous peoples, and neighborhood boards, organized in keeping with their uses, customs, or statutory provisions, are defined as subjects of Popular Participation.
II. The men and women who are Capitanes, Jilacatas, Curacas, Mallcus, Secretaries General, and others, designated in keeping with their uses, customs, and statutory provisions, are recognized as representatives of the Grassroots Territorial Organizations.
 Law on Popular Participation No. 1551, Article 7, which provides:
Article 7 (Rights of Grassroots Territorial Organizations)
The Grassroots Territorial Organizations have the following rights:
a. To propose, request, oversee, and supervise the construction of works and the provision of public services in keeping with community needs in the areas of education, health, sports, basic sanitation, micro-irrigation, local roads, and urban and rural development.
b. To participate and promote actions related to the management and preservation of the environment, ecological equilibrium, and sustainable development.
c. To represent and secure the modification of actions, decisions, workers, or services provided by the public organs when contrary to the community interest.
 Law No. 1565, Law on Educational Reform, of July 7, 1994.
Article 6 – The mechanisms of Popular Participation in Education are:
5. The Educational Council of First-Nation Peoples which, taking account of the concept of trans-territoriality, shall be national in scope and are organized in: Aymará, Quechua, Guaraní, multiethnic Amazonian, and others. They shall participate in the design of educational policies and shall see to their appropriate implementation, particularly on interculturality and bilingualism.
 Law No. 1715, Law of October 18, 1996, Law on the National Agrarian Reform Service, available at http://www.congreso.gov.bo.
 Law No. 3760 of November 7, 2007. It incorporated as domestic statute the 46 articles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, approved at the 62nd session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, done at New York, September 13, 2007.
 Law No. 1715 on the National Agrarian Reform Service, of October 18, 1996, modified by Law No. 3545 on Community Redirection of the Agrarian Reform of November 28, 2006, available at http://www.congreso.gov.bo.
 2009 Political Constitution of the State, Article 2.
 2009 Political Constitution of the State, Article 190.
 2009 Political Constitution of the State, Article 209.