The promotion of political and civil rights
Justification, challenges and opportunities
Improving the quality and quantity of public services for all citizens in a non-discriminatory way remains a challenge for Bolivia. In many areas of the country the state is not present and basic services are not readily available. Both the quality and the capacity of the public organisa-tions are weak and corruption are widespread. This means that in many areas the rule of law is not applied.
There is a need for more accountable and effective public institutions. Access to justice is poor, e.g. because of the non-presence of the judiciary in many areas of Bolivia and/or because of a lack of knowledge and resources and discriminatory practices. This is particularly the case for indigenous peoples and women. Violence against women and violations of their sexual and reproductive rights is a major problem.
There is a lack of cooperation between public organisations such as those responsible for the registration and identification of people (issuance of id-cards), birth certificates, taxation, property registration, immigration, bank supervision, school enrolment, public health insurance etc.
The Bolivians’ confidence in the justice system and the police is very low due to: a) frequent violations of human rights; b) very slow justice procedures; c) a lack of transparency and many cases of corruption; and d) interference by political and economic interests.
Apart from the influence of the econo- mic and political power, the reasons for a poorly functioning justice system are: 1) low budget for infrastructure, equipment and staff; 2) inappropriate management, organisation and staff; 3) inappropriate geographical balance leaving a large part the rural population without access to justice; and 4) cumbersome and bureaucratic legal procedures.
Bolivia is in the middle of a process of profound changes in the way the branches of power are organized, particularly the executive branch and the judiciary as a consequence of the new constitution which came into force in 2010. The aim of the Government, which is shared by Denmark, is to make the state (and its services) more efficient, more accountable and accessible to all Bolivians. This process requires a significant reform of key institutions like the judiciary.
Many of these reforms are meeting and will continue to meet resistance from those groups who benefit from the status quo. The Government is forced to navigate between: 1) many specific interests (which generate conflicts); 2) a huge reform agenda; 3) limited human resources; and 4) very cumbersome procedures.
Many of these reforms do not require large external financial resources but they do require external partners who are flexible, willing to share risks and prepared to provide quick up-front financing, and who can start reforms if opportunities occur. The external partners must therefore be willing to take risks, have the ability to understand the political economy and have sufficient capacity to engage.
The Bolivians are generally well organized in demanding their rights. It is estimated that the most binding constraints for the promotion of political and civil rights and the rule of law are in the public sector, e.g. due to a lack of capacity in the public organisations that are responsible for ensuring these rights.
For years Denmark has (together with Sweden) supported the judiciary and key public sector reforms promoting transparency and reducing opportunities for corruption etc. There is a trusting relationship between Denmark, Sweden and Bolivia when dealing with these crucial and often sensitive challenges.
The following key results are expected:
A significant part of the support (20–30 per cent) is expected to be structured in such a way that it can be flexibly directed towards areas, where there is a great need and at the same time opportunities to promote change. This implies a gradual approach to reform, not solely based upon large framework plans. However, priority will be given to those areas where the impact on the rights of the poor part of the population, including women and indigenous peoples, is significant.
Content/areas of intervention
Continued support is expected for key organisations within the justice system as well as for the improvement of key public services.
The programming approach will be human rights based. Other key strategic elements in the programme will be: the promotion of results-based management in the partner organisations with a view to transitioning management away from the present focus (which mainly monitors whether regulations and procedures are being followed); the promotion of coordination and collaboration between public organisations which can benefit from each other’s work, along with capacity building through the co-financing of infrastructure in remote areas, equipment, software systems, training and technical assistance to start reforms.
Support to the judiciary is expected to take place in cooperation with other donors such as the EU. Key partners of cooperation are expected to include the attorney general, the courts and the public defendant specifically aimed at ensuring access to justice in those areas of Bolivia where there is no access, e.g. in rural areas and urban areas where growth has been explosive and where capacity has not followed suit. In these areas, there is a concentration of poor and indigenous peoples. Special focus will be given to the promotion of women’s rights. Support to civil society is also expected to focus on especially women’s access to justice.
The specific areas that will receive support through the programme on public sector reforms will be defined in collaboration with the Government and other potential donors. It is expected that support will be given to the modernisation and simplification of administrative processes and procedures by using modern technology that can reduce waiting times, increase transparency and accountability, reduce discrimination, improve collaboration and dialogue between government and non-government actors, improve the inter-institutional coordination etc. Potential areas of intervention continue to be support for the civil registry service, migration, property registration, tax collection and money laundering.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of DenmarkDanidaAsiatisk Plads 2 DK-1448 Copenhagen K Tel. +45 33 92 00 00Fax +45 32 54 05 email@example.com