‘Guarantee due process’, says UN chief, following Bolivia opposition arrests

14 March 2021

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has recalled the importance of upholding due process in all legal proceedings, a day after the arrest of the former interim president of Bolivia, Jeanine Áñez, and several former ministers.

The Secretary-General’s official spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric, said in a statement released on Sunday, that the UN chief’s call was in relation to the recent legal action taken against former government officials and authorities in Bolivia.

Bolivia fell into crisis in 2019, after President Evo Morales declared victory in disputed elections that would have granted him a fourth term, prompting mass protests. Dozens were killed and hundreds injured, amid reports of widespread human rights violations and abuses.

Following weeks of violent protests, Mr. Morales later stepped down and left the country, and Ms. Áñez became the caretaker president, until elections could be called. Those elections, which took place in October 2020, saw Mr. Morales’s party, Mas Socialist, win back power.

Ms. Áñez and her former colleagues are being accused by prosecutors of taking part in a coup in 2019, when they began running the country in the aftermath of the violence and Mr. Morales leaving Bolivia.

Since her arrest,  Ms. Áñez has tweeted that she is the victim of a political witch-hunt, and that her arrest warrant listed charges of terrorism, sedition and conspiracy, whilst Mr. Morales has tweeted his support for the actions.

In Sunday’s UN statement, Mr. Dujarric said that the Secretary-General also recalls the important steps taken by all Bolivian actors towards the consolidation of peace and reiterates the United Nations commitment to support these efforts, including through the facilitation of political dialogue and the promotion of human rights. 

 

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