Bolivia seeks international respect for migrants' rights

    16 de junio de 2017

    La Paz, Jun 16 (efe-epa).- The Bolivian government seeks to use the upcoming International Peoples Conference, which it says stands for a world without walls, to pressure international institutions to respect migrants' rights, multilateralism and international law.

    That was explained in an interview with EFE by Alfredo Rada, deputy minister of coordination with social movements and one of the organizers of the summit scheduled for June 20-21 at Tiquipaya, in the central Bolivian province of Cochabamba, at which some 2,500 delegates are expected from Bolivia and elsewhere, mostly from the Americas but also from Europe, Asia, and probably Africa.

    Rada said the conference debates will focus on three categories: universal citizenship, the sovereignty of nations and the identity of peoples.

    "The concept of South American citizenship, promoted by one of the special guests at the summit, (former Colombian President) Ernesto Samper, will be debated considering the value of such regional citizenship as a first step toward universal citizenship," he said.

    Another guest at the summit will be former Spanish President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, whom Rada described as "one of the promoters of a Europeist vision."

    Rada said that these ideas of integration and disappearing borders will be incorporated into "the declaration that will be issued by the conference and which will later be taken to the international forums of the United Nations in order to politically influence those international events.

    The deputy minister said that in recent decades, "important progress" has been made regarding the international rights of migrants, which have been defined, for example, by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) of the United Nations, and the UN Refugee Agency.

    But all is not well, according to Rada - in recent years a protectionist trend has slowed this progress and even has it losing ground.

    As an example of this regression, he mentioned the tough migrant policies of Donald Trump of the US and Mauricio Macri of Argentina.

    The deputy minister also said that climate change is one of the factors causing the displacement of large populations and to which Bolivia is vulnerable.

    Rada said that Andean countries, together with those on the coasts, are "particularly vulnerable" to the phenomenon of extreme drought caused by the thawing icecaps of the Andes.

    "It's not possible to separate, either in debate or in practice, the defense of migrants' rights from the defense of multilateralism or from global warming," he said.

    But the worst uprooting of people is due to war, Rada noted, so that from Tiquipaya the word must be spread that "Latin America is and must continue to be a continent of peace."