Bruno Kreisky Foundation

for Human Rights

Domitila Barrios de Chungara (Bolivia)

Domitila Barrios de Chungara was born in 1937 in Potosi, Bolivia. She was a Bolivian labor leader and feminist. Her political engagement began when she joined the Comite de de Casa de la mina Siglo XX. It was an organization comprised of the wives of the mining committees of the twentieth century. The miner women had established their own organization in order to defend themselves and their rights. They wanted to protect their families against the oppression of the military government.

Domitila Barrios de Chungara quickly became the voice of the organization, as well as that of the Bolivian workers’ movement. She became a speaker in congress during the international year of women in Mexico in 1975 and gained international attention. During the military dictatorship, she was arrested and personally became a witness to violence and human rights violations. The Bolivian miner women advocated the rights of the workers and those who were oppressed in Bolivia. Domitila Barrios de Chungara was one of the first grassroots activists in all of Latin America.

She is an indefatigable advocate of justice, equality, and democracy. Domitila Barrios de Chungara was unable to return to Bolivia after participating in a UN conference. She lived in Switzerland in the eighties and years later she was allowed to return to Bolivia. She received the Bruno Kreisky Prize for human rights in 1981. She died in Cochabamba, Bolivia, on 13 March 2012 of lung cancer.
She was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, among other things, and received the Bruno Kreisky Prize for services to human rights in 1981.