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Saturday, March 25, 2017
Bolivia: CAFOD partner injured in racist attack
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 More than 50 people have been injured in racist attacks in the south of Bolivia, including one of aid agency CAFOD's partners. Indigenous community leaders who travelled to the city of Sucre to celebrate the arrival of new government funds for poor, rural communities last week were taken hostage by a group of masked men. They were forced to strip, parade around the central square, kiss the ground and watch their traditional clothing being burned. More than 50 people were injured and many more were harassed. A female reporter for Radio ACLO (Acción Cultural Loyola) ­ which works in partnership with CAFOD to give indigenous people a voice ­ was beaten and drenched in alcohol during another attack in the city at the same time, which left her fearing for her life. Last year Radio ACLO received threats after it attempted to present all sides of a controversial debate around a proposed new constitution. The constitution's aim was to underpin the economic and social changes needed to make Bolivia a just and prosperous country where everyone ­ including indigenous communities, which make up the majority of the population ­ benefits from its wealth. Many attacks have been carried out against Bolivia's indigenous communities in the last few years as they press for economic and social change in a country where they have suffered poverty and exclusion ­ including exclusion from the media ­ for more than 500 years. Karen Luyckx, CAFOD's representative in Bolivia, said: "This unprovoked attack was a truly disturbing and shocking act of racism. "CAFOD applauds the indigenous communities for not retaliating with violence and we support their call for those responsible to be brought to justice. "We hope and pray that they are not subject to such terrible abuse again and that their right to live in dignity, and not in poverty, will soon be respected."
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