REPORT Nº 40/08
July 23, 2008


1. On March 7, 2007, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter “the InterAmerican Commission,” “the Commission,” or “the IACHR”) received a petition lodged by the
Ombudsman (Defensor del Pueblo) of Bolivia, (hereinafter “the petitioner”) on behalf of I.V.
(hereinafter “the alleged victim”) alleging the international liability of the State of Bolivia
(hereinafter “the State,” or “the Bolivian State”) for having submitted I.V. without her consent
to a sterilization and subsequently for having denied her access to justice in order to remedy the
violations allegedly suffered. It is alleged in the petition that the events described constitute
violations of the rights protected by Articles 5 (Humane Treatment), 8 (Fair Trial), 11 (Privacy),
13 (Freedom of Thought and Expression), 17 (Rights of the Family), and 25 (Judicial Protection),
all in connection with the general obligations contained in Article 1(1) of the American Convention
on Human Rights (hereinafter “the American Convention,” or “the Convention”). In addition, the
petition alleges the violation of Article 7 of the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention,
Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women (hereinafter “the Convention of Belém
do Pará”).
2. The petitioner states that in 2000 the alleged victim was submitted to a surgical procedure in
a public hospital involving the ligature of the fallopian tubes, without her informed consent,
amounting therefore to an involuntary sterilization which permanently removed any reproductive
capacity. The petitioner also claims that the acts have remained in a complete state of impunity
because of undue and unjustified delays in the criminal process and that I.V. is still suffering the
physical and psychological consequences of that operation. With regard to admissibility, the
petitioner argues that the remedies available under domestic law were exhausted with Resolution
514/06 of the First Criminal Court of the Superior Court of Justice of La Paz on August 23, 2006,
which resolved the incidental appeal lodged against Resolution 13/06 and confirmed the
extinguishment of criminal proceedings.
3. The State, for its part, maintains that while carrying out a caesarean on the alleged victim,
multiple adhesions presented causing the doctor who was carrying out the procedure to tell the
alleged victim of the risks she would be running if she were to become pregnant again. He then
suggested to her that a ligature of her fallopian tubes should be carried out, to which she verbally
assented. With regard to the exhaustion of domestic remedies, the State disputes the
admissibility and argues, in accordance with Article 46(1)(a) and 47(a) of the American
Convention, that the petitioner did not exhaust the remedies available under domestic law.
4. Having examined the information presented with regard to the admissibility requirements set
forth in Articles 46 and 47 of the American Convention, the Commission concludes that it is
competent to examine the petition and that the petition is admissible regarding the alleged
violation of the rights protected under Articles 5(1), 8(1), 11(2), 13, 17, and 25 of the American
Convention, in relation to the general obligations established in Article 1(1) of the American
Convention. It also considers that the petition is admissible for the alleged violation of Article 7
of the Convention of Belém do Pará. Therefore the Commission decides to notify the parties,
publish the present Admissibility Report, and to include it in its Annual Report.


By special request of the petitioner, in communication dated March 7, 2007, the name of the alleged victim (hereinafter
“I.V”) is withheld.


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