BOLIVIA: Case of refugee family denied asylum filed at the Inter-American Court

Summary: Among other things, the Inter-American Commission concluded that Bolivia failed in its special obligations to protect the three children involved in the case.

[23 February 2012] - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) filed an application with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IA Court HR) in Case No. 12.474, Pacheco Tineo Family, Bolivia. 

The case refers to the return of the Pacheco Tineo family to Peru on February 24, 2001, as a consequence of the rejection of the request for recognition of refugee status in Bolivia. The Pacheco Tineo family, formed by Rumaldo Juan Pacheco Osco, his wife, Fredesvinda Tineo Godos, and their three children, entered Bolivia on February 19, 2001. The migration authorities took note of their irregular situation and initiated actions directed toward their expulsion to their country of their nationality, Peru. Later, Rumaldo Juan Pacheco Osco requested that the State of Bolivia recognise the status of refugees for all members of his family because they would be at risk in Peru. This request was rejected in a matter of hours, summarily and in violation of the guarantees of due process.

The case was sent to the IA Court HR on February 21, 2012, because the Commission considered that the State had not complied with the recommendations contained in its Report on the Merits. In that report, the IACHR concluded that the State of Bolivia is internationally responsible for violating the right to mental integrity, the right to seek and be granted asylum, the non refoulement principle, and the right to judicial guarantees and judicial protection, to the detriment of the members of the Tineo Pacheco family. Moreover, the IACHR concluded that the State of Bolivia violated its special obligations in relation to the protection of the three children.

In addition, the case involves issues of inter-American public order, given that it is the first case submitted to the IA Court about violations that occurred in the context of proceedings on a request for recognition of refugee status. In addition, given that the family was returned without a serious determination of the risk situation in their country of origin, the case will allow the IA Court to rule for the first time on the non refoulement principle in a contentious case. Also, these aspects will be analysed in the light of the special obligations of protection and the best interest of the child.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.


Further Information:



Please note that these reports are hosted by CRIN as a resource for Child Rights campaigners, researchers and other interested parties. Unless otherwise stated, they are not the work of CRIN and their inclusion in our database does not necessarily signify endorsement or agreement with their content by CRIN.