Human Rights NATIONAL

Amnesty International meets Boric, discuss human rights

An Amnesty international delegation met with Gabriel Boric in order to present an agenda centered around improving the state of human rights in Latin America. The representatives also provided Boric with a document establishing priority issues they seek to address in their dialogue with the Chilean government. Another report focussing specifically on the effects of the pandemic in relation to inequality was given to Health Minister Yarza.

Amnesty International conducted a meeting with Gabriel Boric on Tuesday, Apr. 26, in order to discuss the state of human rights in Chile. The main themes highlighted by the report were the justice and police reform, sexual and reproductive rights, inequality and access to healthcare, and Chile’s role in Venezuela’s human rights and refugee crisis. The delegation was led by Erika Guevara Rosas, Amnesty’s director for the Americas, and Rodrigo Bustos, executive director of Amnesty International Chile. On the government’s side, Minister of Justice and Human Rights, Marcela Ríos, and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Antonia Urrejola also attended alongside Boric.

During the meeting, Boric promised to maintain a space open for collaboration with Amnesty and to put fundamental human rights at the forefront of his policies, both internal and external and to do all he could to promote their respect within Latin America. “In the most unequal continent in the world, the Chilean State and the other States in the region must focus on a fair recovery that leaves no one behind,” said Erika Guevara Rosas.

“The government of President Gabriel Boric has a historical opportunity to put rights at the center of state action in Chile and leave behind the dark legacy of the previous government in terms of the serious and widespread human rights violations committed during the social outbreak, ” said Rodrigo Bustos.

Amnesty International releases annual report

The unequal effects of Covid-19 according to Amnesty International

The delegation also presented Health Minister María Begoña Yarza with another report focussing specifically on the effects of the pandemic and the ways in which they were exacerbated by Latin American countries’ strong inequalities. Titled “Unequal and lethal: Five keys towards recovering from the human rights crisis that unleashed the pandemic in Latin America and the Caribbean“, the report explains how these inequalities caused a disproportionate number of Covid-19 deaths, far higher than that of other regions of the world.

It states that, although Latin America and the Caribbean only account for around 8.4 percent of the world’s population, the region has recorded as much as 28 percent of the world’s Covid-19 related deaths. A shocking lack of hospital beds and medical professionals to effectively treat Covid-19 was the cause of countless deaths that could have been avoided according to Amnesty.

The reason for this under-preparedness is the fact that most countries in the region spend very little on health and social protection. “Although many Latin American countries made cash transfers during the pandemic, none of them expanded health insurance or took sufficient steps to implement universal social security mechanisms or expand coverage to ensure that the most disadvantaged people were served,” the report states. The Pan American Health Organization establishes that a minimum of 6 percent of GDP must be devoted to health if universal coverage is to be guaranteed and most Latin American countries are currently far below that number.

According to the report, in Chile, the per capita public spending on health represents only about a third of the average of all OECD countries and the country only has half the average number of hospital beds for every 1,000 inhabitants.

This issue is also related to the fact that governments have not managed to collect tax revenue in a way that combats inequality, even in times of economic expansion because most of their tax systems are regressive and therefore place a heavier burden on the most financially disadvantaged. In Chile, around half of the money spent on healthcare comes directly from patients through mandatory up-front fees and voluntary or out-of-pocket costs. In a country where the richest 20 percent of the population holds ten times more income than the poorest 20 percent, these costs could add up considerably for those in the lowest income groups.

It also exposes how historically marginalized groups such as indigenous peoples suffered the most devastating effects of the pandemic. It explains how this situation is the result of centuries of colonialism and the denial of indigenous rights. It says that governments must implement stronger affirmative action measures in order to even begin addressing the situation. “Promoting equality does not mean treating all people in the same way,” said Guevara-Rosas.

“It is essential to reconsider policies based on human rights to avoid future calamities in a region that, according to many indicators, is the most unequal in the world,” the report says.

The delegation is set to hold another meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Antonia Urrejola later in the week.

Related posts

Election day in Santiago: high voter turnout but little confidence in the process

Matthijs de Olde

Journalist shot and severely injured during Labor Day March

Notorious priest Fernando Karadima, 90, dies

Boris van der Spek

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy