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IBRU: Centre for Borders Research

Boundary news

Boundary news Headlines

Bolivia takes sea access case against Chile to The Hague

(29 April 2014)

The President of landlocked Bolivia has personally handed over documents to the International Court of Justice to support his country’s ongoing claim against Chile to win access to the Pacific Ocean.

Bolivia went to the ICJ last year to try and win back the land it lost to Chile in 1884 after years of war which left the country landlocked. Bolivia have requested that Chile be ordered to negotiate a passage of access to part of the 120 kilometres of coast and 120,000 square kilometres of land it lost.

Chile argues that the border between the two countries was fixed by a treaty signed in 1904. However Bolivia claims that Chile has violated the treaty on numerous occasions and has reneged on promises to give it a land corridor with access to the Pacific Ocean.

Much of Bolivia’s trade passes through Chilean ports thanks to a separate trade agreement. However the two countries severed diplomatic relations in 1978.

Bolivia’s hopes of a favourable ruling were raised in January when the ICJ awarded a disputed patch of ocean to Peru in a separate case against Chile.

A ruling by the ICJ in this new case is expected to take many years.

Sources:

‘Bolivia files at UN court its claim over Chilean sea’, 16 April 2014, BBC News http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-27042658

 Bolivia’s Morales files Hague documents in sea access claim against Chile, 15 April 2014, Reuters http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/15/us-bolivia-chile-hague-idUSBREA3E18E20140415