SANTIAGO – Amnesty International has released its latest report, condemning the government’s criminalization of protesters. The report also highlights the use of excessive force during protests. It is yet another blow to the government’s human rights record.
In its latest report, Amnesty International is criticizing slow legal proceedings related to protests during Chile’s social outbreak and highlights issues regarding indigenous groups and migrants.
The three-page chapter on Chile details concerns about protests which “were usually met with excessive use of force by state agents, often resulting in serious injuries.” The report mentioned the killing of Jonathan Reyes by police during the nationwide curfew imposed during the pandemic. State agents have claimed they acted in self-defense, but evidence showed Reyes did not represent a threat when he was shot.
Amnesty International is also referring to the National Human Rights Institute’s concern on slow legal proceedings against protesters. The public prosecutor archived nearly half the human rights lawsuits filed in the wake of the social uprising. Amnesty International also criticized the “anti-barricade” law and the filing of lawsuits against hundreds of protestors, “which is not in line with international human rights law.”
The organization details situations where Mapuche have been targeted by state agents. After protests in Curacautín, civilians intervened to violently remove the Mapuche protesters, but police did not take any action against the vigilantes and arrested the indigenous group instead.
Health workers reported unsafe working conditions during the first peak of the pandemic in 2020 and told Amnesty International “they risked sanctions if they spoke out publicly.” This issue mostly affected workers in the public sector, where mortality rates were higher than in private hospitals.
The summary cited changes to Chile’s immigration law, which “could reduce the opportunities for migrants to regularize their legal status once in Chile.” It also documents the expulsion flights, which included forcing migrants to accept an agreement under which they are not allowed to enter Chile for nine years. The Supreme Court has ruled the provision unlawful.
Chile’s government has come under fire before from the UN and other organizations for its human rights violations.
The Amnesty International report is available here.