New Bolivian Constitution Includes Women’s Human Rights
Tuesday, April 14, 2009 11:50 AM

The people of Bolivia approved a referendum by around 60 percent at the end of January, 2009, amending their constitution. The new constitution includes many important provisions concerning women’s human rights, including a right to freedom from violence, the valuation of women’s work in the home, and land ownership rights.

President Evo Morales, who was elected in 2005 largely based on his indigenous people’s rights and socialist platform, declared of the referendum, "Here begins the new Bolivia. Here we begin to reach true equality." Morales is up for re-election in December, and if he wins, he would begin his last term in 2010.

However, there were costs to getting to this point. The Guardian notes that several deaths and hundreds of injuries resulted from clashes during the drafting of the referendum.

Article 9(5) grants a right to access education (also in Article 17), healthcare (also in Articles 18, 35-35), and work (also in Articles 46-55). Article 14.I prohibits discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and pregnancy. Article 15 states that the rights to life and sexual integrity are fundamental, as is the right (for women in particular) to be free from violence in the home or society. Article 15 also prohibits trafficking in persons. Article 66 grants men and women the right to sexual and reproductive choice.

Click here for the text of the constitutional referendum [Word, 100 pages, in Spanish].

Compiled from: Bolivia: New Constitution Means New Reality for Women and Girls, Association for Women’s Rights in Development, 13 April 2009; Taylor, Matthew, Evo Morales hails 'new Bolivia' as constitution is approved, The Guardian, 26 January 2009; Dangl, Benjamin, 'Neoliberalism ends here': Bolivia's bold new constitution empowers the country's ethnic communities with access to education and healthcare, The Guardian, 27 January 2009; Nueva constitucion politica del estado, Asamblea Constituyente de Bolivia, Congreso Nacional, October 2008 [Word, 100 pages].