UN rights experts call on Bolivian authorities to safeguard protesters liberties

The five experts, attached to the UN Human Rights Commission, cited “allegations of excessive use of force by the army and the police in their ongoing law enforcement operations, as a result of which 50 persons, many of them belonging to indigenous communities, have died during the last few weeks and more than a hundred have been injured.”They urged Bolivian authorities “to ensure that law enforcement officials engaged in these operations carry out their duties in strict compliance with human rights standards.”Concerns have been expressed over the possibility that new confrontations could increase the number of civilian victims, the experts said.The UN World Food Programme (WFP), meanwhile, said because of the violent clashes between government troops and protesters, it had suspended operations distributing emergency food aid across the country, except for one region and the General Hospital, last Friday. It usually fed some 400,000 Bolivians, it said.WFP’s Christiane Berthiaume said in Geneva it was difficult and even dangerous to walk around the Bolivian capital, La Paz. Most people were staying at home and many schools and shops were closed. read more