Human Rights Violations Continue in Chile (2019)

Chile protest 2019 | Report Syndication


Thirty (30) cent increase in the subway fare was the immediate trigger for demonstrations in Chile on October 14, 2019. But this was the trigger, not the reason. Infact 30 years of post-dictatorship policies, which took away many economic and social rights for the Chileans, was the reason behind the demonstrations.

The repressive role of the government towards the protesters using the security forces has worsened the situation. Chile’s National Institute of Human Rights (NHRI) warned that the repression on the ongoing protests in the country was the most serious human rights violations in 30 years.

Human rights violations were widespread in Chile during the period when the country was rule by military dictatorship. For last 30 years, which was the post-dictatorship period, violations continued, but in slow and low intensity. The very recent violations were, however, way too high. Chileans are currently witnessing the most repressive atmosphere since the end of the dictatorship 30 years ago.

Sergio Micco, the director of Chile’s official human rights body, said that the state’s response to mass protests “produced, as a whole, the most serious and multiple violations of human rights committed since 1989”.

Sergio Micco’s recent report, which is focused on the ongoing crisis, reveals alarming information. According to the report, three forms of human rights violations were repeated in time and space during the ongoing crisis: (i) indiscriminate use of force, (ii) torture, and (iii) sexual violence.

According to NHRI, at least 26 people have been killed and more than 2,300 civilians have been injured during the crisis. Prosecutors are investigating the deaths. Although at least 350 people is reported to be hospitalized with eye injuries from–mostly–police bullets, the exact number of people who suffered eye injuries during the crisis could be way higher.

According to the NHRI, the human rights violations are “serious and multiple” and the Carabineros–Chilean national police force having jurisdiction over the entire national territory of Chile–made “excessive delay” in taking steps to prevent further violations.

The NHRI has initiated a high number of legal actions against authorities for murder, torture, sexual violence, and other abuses.

Chile had been rule by military dictatorship for many years. Human rights violations was the norm of the day during those days. Yet 30 years later, the violations still continue to be the norm of the day. It was a normalcy then, it is almost a normalcy now.