OHCHR condemns poll campaign violence in Bolivia

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has condemned the ongoing violence in several cities across Bolivia amid heated poll campaigns in the run up to October 18 presidential election.

“Within the framework of the International Day of Peace and two weeks after the restart of the election campaigns, the mission condemns the recorded incidents of violence that affect the rights of citizens and the various political parties to proselytize,” the OHCHR’s mission in Bolivia tweeted on Monday.

The agency called on all sides to ensure campaigns are carried out in a climate of tolerance, civility and mutual respect, reports Xinhua news agency.

“The desire of the Bolivian people to hold peaceful elections must prevail,” the mission added.

Since September 6, attacks against various parties have occurred in the cities of Potosi, Sucre, La Paz, El Alto, Oruro, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz.

In two incidents, “press personnel” were attacked, the OHCHR said.

Representatives of the Bolivian Episcopal Conference, the European Union and the UN who are monitoring the transition process on September 19 called for the campaigns to be carried out in “an orderly, democratic process”.

Also last week, Bolivia’s interim President Jeanine Anez quit the election race, saying that she did not want to split the vote and see the return to office of former President Evo Morales’ Mas socialist party, the BBC reported.

Anez was sworn in last year after Morales, who currently lives in Argentina, resigned and left the country amid allegations of electoral fraud.

Morales later said he was forced into exile by the police and the military.

He served as Bolivia’s President for almost 14 years, from 2006 to 2019, after winning three consecutive elections.