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Bolivia: Human rights defender ends 52-day vigil

After 52 days of vigil, Amparo Carvajal was able to exit the premises of the Permanent Assembly on Human Rights in Bolivia (APDHB). The 84-year-old human rights defender spent 12 of those days on the terrace of the occupied building. On July 22, 2023, the president of the APDHB left the building at around 10:30 p.m., accompanied by the Spanish consul in Bolivia, Guillermo Gil, who helped facilitate Carvajal’s departure. Carvajal was immediately taken to a medical center.


84-year-old human rights defender Amparo Carvajal spent 52 days in vigil in cold temperatures outside the Permanent Assembly on Human Rights in Bolivia (APDHB) in La Paz. On June 2, dozens of people raided the APDHB’s office (of which Amparo is president) and forced staff to abandon the premises. On July 12, Amparo managed to enter the offices by way of a ladder and slept on the roof of the office for days, with no access to water, a bathroom or proper shelter. Meanwhile, the building remained occupied, and dozens of police blocked the premises’ entrance.

On July 22, at around 10:30 p.m., Amparo Carvajal left the building together with the Spanish Consul in Bolivia, Guillermo Gil, who facilitated and accompanied her departure. Carvajal was immediately taken to a hospital, to receive medical attention. The groups that had raided the offices and had been occupying the premises and harassing Amparo, also vacated the office. The APDHB is currently negotiating with the authorities as to an inventory of the premises and the possible reopening of the office. For now, the offices remain closed. The police presence outside the office has decreased.

Amnesty International has documented how human rights defenders in Bolivia are routinely subjected to harassment, stigmatization, and threats from authorities. In 2018, we released a public statement about Amparo Carvajal, who was subject to unfounded criminalizing accusations against her.

The Permanent Assembly on Human Rights in Bolivia (APDHB) was established in 1976 and is a confederation of volunteer lawyers and human rights defenders throughout Bolivia that offer pro bono legal assistance to victims of human rights violations as well as raising awareness about rule of law, justice and impunity in the country. Since the raid on the offices, several key documents of the APDHB appear to have been stolen, destroyed or removed from the offices. The APDHB works on several cases of grave human rights violations.