IACHR on the protests in Chile: “We are facing a serious human rights crisis.”

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) denounced this Friday that Chile is experiencing a “serious” human rights crisis since the protests broke out three months ago and asked the country’s authorities to investigate “diligently” and punish those responsible.

“We are facing a serious human rights crisis. The numbers speak for themselves, “said Commissioner Joel Hernández during the presentation of a preliminary report with recommendations and observations after the international organization made a visit to the country between January 26 and 31.

During its visit, the entity dependent on the Organization of American States (OAS) found human rights violations such as the “disproportionate use of force”, “arbitrary detentions”, “sexual abuse and rape”, “torture” and “treatment cruel and degrading, “said the commissioner.

“The IACHR observes that the State’s response to social mobilization was characterized by the practice of repression and the disproportionate use of force and repetitive behaviors of violence against protesters,” he added.

Chile has been experiencing the most serious wave of protests since the end of the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship (1973-1990) for more than three months, which have already left about thirty dead and more than 3,600 injured, including more than 400 with eye injuries, according to the autonomous National Institute of Human Rights (INDH).

The Chilean Prosecutor’s Office reported this Friday that since last October 18 it has been investigating a total of 5,558 complaints of human rights violations and that most of them point to the Carabineros (Chilean Police) as responsible.

The IACHR urged the authorities to “investigate the complaints with due diligence and punish those responsible” and asked the Government to undertake a “comprehensive” reform of the Carabineros to “adapt their actions to respect human rights.”

The organization, which ensures that most of the demonstrations are peaceful although it recognizes “violent groups”, also condemned the laws announced by the Government to increase the penalties against hooded men and those who set up barricades, since “they could criminalize the exercise of freedom of movement. expression and the right of assembly, ”Hernández said.

The massive demonstrations of the first weeks, which began with the increase in the subway ticket and became a clamor against inequality and the Government, were losing strength, but in recent days the violence has intensified after a police car fatally run over a fan of a local soccer team.

The commissioner explained that the protests are based on “a growing, accumulated and intergenerational dissatisfaction in the access and enjoyment of social rights and basic public services” and that “the discomfort is expressed not only by the poorest and most excluded sectors, but also by broad sectors media that see their development possibilities seriously limited ».

The preliminary report of the IACHR – the final one will be published in a few months – is in line with the reports previously made by other international organizations such as the UN, Amnesty International (AI) or Human Rights Watch (HRW).

After hearing the IACHR report, the Chilean government said it would analyze its recommendations “with openness and willingness.

“All actions of the State and its agencies are exercised and will be exercised within a State of Law and respect for Human Rights (…). We want to reiterate that for the Government of Chile it is a priority to protect the Human Rights of all people against any violation, “stated the Government through a statement issued by the country’s Foreign Ministry.

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