Chile: Amnesty International denounces human rights violations to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

The Chilean authorities continue to commit widespread human rights violations, showing that President Sebastián Piñera's government has not taken effective decisions to deal with the crisis, Amnesty International will tell the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights at a hearing in Quito, Ecuador today. 

Amnesty International continues to investigate grave human rights violations and possible crimes under international law committed during the protests in Chile, but the information gathered so far allows the organization to reach the preliminary conclusion that these are not isolated events and that they point to the regular and excessive use of force by the Chilean authorities.

“President Sebastián Piñera has clearly not taken all the measures open to him to stop the grave human rights violations and possible crimes under international law that have kept occurring in Chile since the beginning of the social protests. The persistent violent repression against demonstrators may well intensify in the light of the security proposals put forward by the president on 7 November”, said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

President Sebastián Piñera has clearly not taken all the measures open to him to stop the grave human rights violations and possible crimes under international law that have kept occurring in Chile since the beginning of the social protests
Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International

“This continuity shows there is no genuine willingness to discard a failed strategy or to respond to people’s demands and respect their rights. We reiterate our call to President Piñera: there is no time to lose, order an immediate halt to the harm being caused by the security forces, otherwise it will be impossible to establish a dialogue on social grievances regarding the human rights crisis. The world is still watching Chile”.

Amnesty International’s crisis and tactical response team for the Americas has been on the ground for two weeks and is working with Amnesty International Chile to produce detailed documentation of grave human rights violations and crimes under international law. The team has met Chilean authorities, civil society organizations, victims of human rights violations and their families. In just one week, Amnesty International received more than 10,000 allegations and abundant audiovisual material on the excessive use of force by the military and the police (Carabineros). The organization’s digital and firearms specialists are verifying this material and the results will be announced soon.

“What is happening in Chile is tragic. In three weeks, the government has made excessive use of force, often unnecessarily, against mainly peaceful protesters and passers-by. We want to make it very clear: we are not talking about isolated events, the number of cases is running into thousands and they are occurring throughout practically the entire country”, said Ana Piquer, executive director of Amnesty International Chile.  

How can the Chilean government play down the seriousness of these events, which continue happening daily? It should take urgent measures to stop this
Ana Piquer, executive director of Amnesty International Chile

“It is frightening that in the course of just a few days more than 20 people have lost their lives, including five thought to be at the hands of state agents. On top of this terrible tally, hundreds have suffered permanent injuries in just a few weeks, such as the loss of an eye, after being hit by rubber bullets or teargas canisters. We have also documented cases of torture and sexual violence. How can the Chilean government play down the seriousness of these events, which continue happening daily? It should take urgent measures to stop this.” 

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:

Duncan Tucker (Amnesty International Americas): duncan.tucker@amnesty.org

Ilsen Jara: (Amnesty International Chile): ilsen.jara@amnistia.cl