Bolivia: Human Rights Organizations Publish Report to UN on the Sacaba and Senkata Massacres

After receiving the document, the international organization urged Bolivia to investigate the violations committed by Jeanine Áñez’s facto government. These crimes remain unpunished to this day.

In response to the lack of progress in justice and reparations for the victims of the abuses carried out under the Añez government, the undersigned organizations have decided to make public the report we submitted to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions on August 10, 2020. Based on thorough documentation carried out in Bolivia, this report details the events that took place during the Sacaba and Senkata massacres. It also highlights additional abuses carried out by members of the Áñez government, including security forces and judicial authorities, in the days and months following the massacres.

On September 21, 2020 after receiving detailed reports based on witness testimonies, photo and video evidence, and other forms of documentary evidence, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, in conjunction with five other UN bodies, published a statement condemning the massacres in Sacaba and Senkata and urging the Bolivian government to investigate human rights violations carried out by the de facto Añez regime.

The Special Rapporteur called for “immediate action.” UN experts on arbitrary detentions; freedom of expression; freedom of assembly and association; the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism; and truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence further urged the State to adopt “all the necessary measures to investigate, process and impose appropriate punishment to any person responsible of the violations reported,” as well as to take “effective measures to keep these incidents from occurring again.” Yet, despite the experts’ calls for accountability, the Áñez government repeatedly blocked efforts for justice, and as of today no person has been held accountable for the killings.

This report is one of many cataloguing the human rights violations that took place during this period. The report remained confidential according to the practices of the special rapporteurs to protect victims and witnesses. We have received authorization from the victims to make public the information shared in the report, though the identities of some witnesses have been redacted for security reasons.   

In November 2020, a democratically elected government returned to power, ending much of the abuses committed under the Áñez government, yet progress in investigations of the massacre has remained slow. We make public this submission in order to urge the Bolivian government to take the necessary steps to establish accountability for the massacres and other rights abuses in Sacaba and Senkata. We also call on the international community to demand that prompt, impartial, and transparent investigations take place. Each day that passes further victimizes those who suffered in November 2019.

Executive summary available here.

Andean Information Network (AIN), Bolivia
Association for Human Rights, Bolivia
Center for Legal and Social Studies (CELS), Argentina
Europe-Third World Center (CETIM), Switzerland
University Network for Human Rights (UNHR), USA

Photo by Abad Miranda