Today, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights released a new publication, entitled Captive Communities: Situation of the Guaraní Indigenous People and Contemporary Forms of Slavery in the Bolivian Chaco, which focuses on the plight of Guaraní communities subjected to debt bondage and forced labor on private estates in the Chaco region of Bolivia. The findings are based in part on the Commission’s working visit to Bolivia in 2008, which was made in an effort to follow-up on alleged abuses of this nature which were reported to the Commission by some of the roughly 600 affected families during its 2006 visit to Bolivia. (See the Commission’s report following its 2006 on-site visit here.) As summarized in the press release, in the report:
the Commission recognizes the efforts made by the Bolivian State to address this grave situation; nevertheless, there are still captive communities whose members 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 Commission deplores the existence of these practices, which violate the American Convention on Human Rights and other international instruments to which Bolivia is a party. The Commission also 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.
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