REPORT NO. 72/14
CASE 12.655
MERITS
I.V.1
BOLIVIA
I.

SUMMARY

1.
On March 7, 2007, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter "the InterAmerican Commission," "the Commission," or "the IACHR") received a petition filed by the Ombudsman
(Defensor del Pueblo de la República de Bolivia, hereinafter "the petitioner") on behalf of I.V. (hereinafter "the
alleged victim"), alleging that the State of Bolivia (hereinafter "the State" or "the Bolivian State") is
responsible internationally for having subjected I.V. to a sterilization procedure without her consent. The
judicial authorities also denied her access to justice to a remedy for the alleged violations of her rights.
2.
The petitioners state that the facts described constitute violations of rights protected by
Articles 5 (Right to Humane Treatment), 8 (Right to a Fair Trial), 11 (Right to Privacy), 13 (Freedom of
Thought and Expression), 17 (Rights of the Family), and 25 (Right to Judicial Protection), in conjunction with
the general obligations established in Article 1.1 of the American Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter
"the American Convention" or "the Convention") They also allege violation of Article 7 of the Inter-American
Convention on the Prevention, Punishment, and Eradication of Violence against Women, (hereinafter
"Convention of Belém do Pará”).
3.
The petitioner maintains specifically that in 2000, the alleged victim was subjected in a
public hospital to a surgical tubal ligation procedure without her informed consent, and therefore to
sterilization without consent, as a result of which she suffered the permanent loss of her reproductive
function. The petitioner argues furthermore that these acts have gone completely unpunished due to
improper and unwarranted delays in the criminal proceedings and that I.V. is still suffering the physical and
psychological consequences of the aforementioned procedure and of the alleged denial of justice.
4.
For its part, the State argues that the sterilization procedure was carried out on I.V. because
of the risk that another pregnancy would pose to her future life and that she consented orally to the
procedure. It further argues that the alleged victim had access to appropriate judicial remedies to rule on
possible legal liabilities.
5.
On July 23, 2008, the IACHR examined the positions of the parties on the matter of
admissibility and, without prejudging the merits of the case, decided to admit the claims set forth in the
petition with respect to Articles 5.1, 8.1, 11.2, 13, 17, and 25 of the American Convention, in conjunction with
the general obligations established in Article 1.1 of that instrument. It also admitted the claims regarding the
alleged violation of Article 7 of the Convention of Belém do Pará and decided to continue analyzing the merits
of the case. It also decided to publish Report No. 40/08, notify the parties thereof, and include it in its Annual
Report.
6.
In this report, after analyzing the claims and evidence adduced by both parties, the
Commission concludes that Bolivia violated 5.1, 8.1, 11.2, 13, 17, and 25 of the American Convention, in
conjunction with the general obligations established in Article 1.1 of that instrument, as well as Article 7 of
the Convention of Belém do Pará.

1 The IACHR withholds the identity of the alleged victim (hereinafter “I.V.”) by virtue of an express request from the petitioner
made on March 7, 2007.

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