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Chile: Amnesty International writes to European leaders ahead of their meeting with President Piñera

Ahead of the visit of Chilean president Sebastián Piñera to Spain, France, Italy and the United Kingdom, Amnesty International has sent a letter to each of the leaders of these European countries expressing its concern about the serious human rights violations and impunity that continue to put all people in Chile at risk and involve a continued failure to meet the state’s obligations in relation to justice, reparation for victims and their families, and guarantees of non-repetition.

“Almost two years on from the protests that began in October 2019 and the widespread attacks against the protestors by the Chilean Carabineros, investigations into serious human rights violations and possible crimes against humanity are making little progress,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

“No strategic commander has been prosecuted to date, and in many cases the same officials who are alleged to have committed human rights violations are still in their posts in charge of controlling the protests. The international community cannot be complicit in this impunity by remaining silent.”

Investigations into serious human rights violations and possible crimes against humanity are making little progress.

Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International

Amnesty International has called on the authorities in Spain, France, Italy and the United Kingdom, in their exchanges with President Sebastián Piñera, to express how important it is that the Chilean authorities: 

  • Ensure that the National Prosecutor’s Office and the Judiciary have all the information and resources necessary to carry out prompt, thorough, impartial, and independent investigations into each of the responsibilities within the Carabineros’ line of command that were key in allowing the right to physical integrity to be widely violated in the context of the social demonstrations that began in October 2019.
  • Adopt all necessary measures to provide reparation to the victims and their families, including adequate rehabilitation, care and reparation for victims of ocular trauma, respecting all international standards of integral reparation applicable. In particular, the current Comprehensive Eye Reparation Programme (PIRO) should be strengthened, in response to the many criticisms raised by the victims themselves who are beneficiaries of this programme.
  • Promote the structural reform of the police institution Carabineros de Chile so as to effectively ensure that law enforcement agencies strictly follow international standards on the use of force, respect the life and physical integrity of all people and have effective mechanisms of accountability, both to civilian authorities and to the public.
  • Take all other necessary measures to protect freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and prevent the recurrence of events such as those documented by Amnesty International.

Amnesty International hopes that the meeting between the Chilean President and his European counterparts will be an opportunity to advance the protection and promotion of human rights in Chile.

Additional information:

Amnesty International has documented the widespread violation of the right to physical integrity by Carabineros officers during the protests that began in October 2019, which have undoubtedly marked a milestone in Chile’s recent history, due to the massive scale of the social demands and multiple repercussions at the social and political level. According to updated figures from the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the National Institute of Human Rights, there are more than 8,000 victims of state violence and more than 400 cases of eye trauma.

Amnesty International found sufficient evidence to argue that the widespread violations demonstrate a pattern of conduct that reveals an intention to harm demonstrators in order to silence protest, or accept such harm as a necessary evil. The scale and consistency of the human rights violations and possible crimes under international law committed could have been avoided, but the strategic and operational commanders of the police institution deliberately failed to implement certain measures within their power. They also deliberately allowed impunity within the institution and obstructed the Prosecutor’s Office’s access to information.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Duncan Tucker (Amnesty International Americas): [email protected];

Ilsen Jara (Amnesty International Chile): [email protected]