Bolivia

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Index Score Global Average Due Diligence Response
Workplace Index 4.2 4.5 Moderate
Marketplace Index 3.6 4.3 Moderate
Community and Environment Index 3.5 4.0 Moderate
Bolivia.JPG

Credit: © UNICEF/UNI169953/Markisz

The following analysis provides a brief analysis of the data behind the Children’s Rights and Business Atlas and is meant to be guide businesses in integrating child rights considerations into human rights due diligence. To fully understand impacts on children’s rights, we encourage all companies to consult relevant industry analysis, and to take steps to align policies, procedures and practices to the UN Guiding Principles (UNGPs) and Children’s Rights and Business Principles (CRBPs).

All businesses operating in or sourcing from Bolivia impact children. According to the most recent census, children under the age of 18 make up 45% of Bolivia’s population. Based on the indices that make up the Children’s Rights and Business Atlas, businesses operating in Bolivia should exercise moderate due diligence.

Workplace

According to the Children’s Rights in the Workplace Index, companies operating in or sourcing from Bolivia should exercise moderate due diligence. Bolivia’s score of 4.97 out of 10 in the Index is primarily due to significant child labour rates and gaps in minimum age of employment. To respect and support children’s rights in the workplace, businesses should:

  • Contribute to the elimination of child labour

    ILO and government data indicate that 26.4% of children in Bolivia between the ages of five and 14 are in child labour. Child labour is much more prevalent in rural areas (65%) than urban areas (15%). ILO research suggests that a large majority of children working in rural areas are in the agricultural industry, with a larger proportion of boys working in the industry than girls. In urban areas, children are work in the service sector, in hotels, restaurants and street vending services. Girls are more likely than boys to participate in the service industry in urban areas. Worst forms of child labour (including the sale and trafficking of children, forced labour, sexual exploitation) are also reported, but the lack of a national reporting mechanism means that the full extent of the problem is not well understood.

    The Child and Adolescent Code (2014) sets the minimum age for employment at 14, prohibits a list of hazardous activities by workers under the age of 18, and sets out a five-year ambition to eliminate child labour. However, a controversial amendment to the Code allows children as young as 12 to be employed with parental consent and those as young as 10 to be self-employed. The ILO has expressed deep concern about these provisions and UNICEF has been working with the government to improve capacity to tackle child labour.

    The government’s ratification of ILO Convention No. 138 on Minimum Age of Employment and No. 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour signals a commitment to protecting children’s rights in the workplace. Nevertheless, food and beverage and travel and tourism businesses should ensure due diligence activities support the eradication of child labour. Specifically, companies should ensure that their policies specify a minimum age of employment that meets international standards and put in place child labour remediation and safeguarding procedures to prevent and redress cases of child labour.

Marketplace

According to the Children’s Rights in the Marketplace Index, companies operating in or sourcing from Bolivia should exercise moderate due diligence. Bolivia’s score of 3.56 out of 10 in the Index is primarily due to gaps in the regulation of tobacco and growing rates of childhood obesity. To respect and support children’s rights in the marketplace, businesses should:

Community and Environment

According to the Children’s Rights in the Community and Environment Index, companies operating in or sourcing from Bolivia should exercise moderate due diligence. Bolivia’s score of 3.81 out of 10 in the Index is primarily due to the impact of natural disasters, and the protection of land rights, particularly for indigenous peoples. To respect and support children’s rights in the community and environment, businesses should:

  • Ensure children’s rights are respected in relation to the environment

    Bolivia is vulnerable to climate change and subject to recurrent natural disasters, including severe droughts and floods. With climate change these disasters are becoming more frequent and severe, displacing thousands of families and children. For instance, a recent assessment of internal displacement found that 7,000 people were displaced in 2016 due to natural disasters.

    Displacement can be highly disruptive to children’s lives and interrupts their access to essential services such as education and health care. Businesses should consider taking action to minimise their contribution to climate change and establish due diligence procedures to ensure that children’s rights are respected.

    Although the government has been making progress, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) shortcomings are among the top challenges facing children in Bolivia. According to the most recent UNICEF data, while 88% of the population has access to improved water sources and just 46% has access to improved sanitation. Water and sanitation challenges are heightened during reoccurring periods of flooding and drought, especially in the eastern and western parts of the country. Pollution and WASH challenges are a cause of death for children in Bolivia, particularly where poor water quality causes diarrhoea. According to WHO data, 7 deaths per 100,000 population are attributed to poor WASH each year in Bolivia.

    For companies, particularly those in the extractives industry, enhanced due diligence should be carried out to ensure that operations do not impact the quality and quantity of water available to communities.

  • Respect children’s rights in relation to land acquisition and use

    Bolivia is one of the world’s most culturally diverse countries, with the most indigenous peoples in the Americas making up 60% of the country’s 10 million people. Indigenous children and communities are among the most marginalised and excluded in the country, and there is considerable inequality in land ownership and access. There are conflicts between indigenous peoples and land appropriation for public works projects.

    As a result, companies investing or involved in land acquisition for commercial purposes – especially extractive industries and food and beverage companies - should ensure that they obtain free, prior and informed consent (FPIC), with procedures that ensure equal participation of indigenous women and children in consultations.

Further Reading

UNICEF Bolivia, 2017. Country Site. Available at: https://www.unicef.org/bolivia/

UNICEF, 2015. Children of Bolivia. Available at: https://www.unicef.org/bolivia/02_UNICEF_Bolivia_CK_-Children_of_Bolivia-_Brochure_low.pdf

UNICEF, 2017. State of the World’s Children 2017. Available at: https://data.unicef.org/

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Index Bolivia
Workplace Index 4.2