AMERICA/BOLIVIA - Bishops' message: "To live mercy in the practice of justice"

Friday, 18 November 2016 evangelization   violence   human rights  

Cochabamba (Agenzia Fides) - "We have to live together on the foundations of truth, without deceiving, with respect, without aggression. Special interests must give way to the common good, especially for the most vulnerable: prisoners, the disabled, the sick and those living in extreme poverty": is the exhortation of the Bishops of Bolivia in the message published at the end of the Assembly of the Bishops' Conference held last week (see Fides 10/11/2016).
"We need to live mercy in the practice of justice, sometimes manipulated by political interests and corruption. The use of detention without trial and for an extended period of time, violates the right to the presumption of innocence, resulting in inhumane conditions in prisons. We join the cry of the Bolivian people for a reliable, fast and impartial justice", says the document, which will be distributed in parishes this weekend as a "Message to the people of God" and responds directly to the reality the people in Bolivia live, as stated in the note sent to Fides by the Bolivian Episcopal Conference.
The message ends with an appeal for life and denounces everything that goes against it, such as "femicide, lynchings, smuggling and human trafficking, abortion and all existing forms of violence in society".
Only in the last three weeks there have been several cases of citizen violence: in Beni a group of residents in a neighborhood hanged a robber, another group of people on the outskirts of Cochabamba burned the alleged leader of a gang of thieves alive. According to the office of the Defensoria del Pueblo, in 2015 there were 32 registered lynchings, but we know that there were also other cases. The theme of "community justice", recognized by the Bolivian Constitution in 2009, is misinterpreted by most of the population who interprets it as taking justice in their own hands. The authorities and the police in many cases are unable to stop this kind of hasty justice. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 18/11/2016)