SANTIAGO – A group of Chilean deputies, part of Chilean-Palestinian Interparliamentary Group, has sent a letter to Michelle Bachelet, the current UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. They want the former president to visit Palestine. The parliamentarians visited the Middle East in August and met with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.
The letter, signed by parliamentarians from nearly all Chilean political parties, demands Michelle Bachelet to pay Palestine a visit in her current position of UN High Commissioner. “We would like you to visit Palestine, so you can see the situation of a people that has been demanding respect for their basic rights as a nation for more than 70 years for yourself,” the letter states.
“We witnessed the colonization advancing over Palestinian territory, through settlements and segregation walls. We head the stories from refugees, political prisoners, the case of Ahed Tamimi and the forced removal of Palestinians from their villages and resources, all accompanied by an apartheid system, institutionalized by the State of Israel, which does not allow the development of a normal life in Palestine,” the letter reads.
Meeting with president Abbas in August
The parliamentarians form part of the Chilean-Palestinian Interparliamentary Group led by Sergio Gahona (UDI). The group visited Palestine and the Middle East in August and met with Mahmoud Abbas, current president of Palestine. During their visit, the group of parliamentarians was expelled by Israeli soldiers, from the house of a Palestinian activist they were visiting.
The Palestinian community in Chile
Apart from countries in the Middle East, there is no country in the world with so many Palestinians as Chile. The current Palestinian community in Chile is estimated to have some 300.000 members. As since the end of the 19th century the first Palestinians arrived in Chile, the community has been more and more visible throughout the years. A good example is Club Deportivo Palestino, a football club founded in 1920, that is currently active in the Chilean Primera División, playing in the colors of the Palestinian flag.
Editor-In-Chief Boris van der Spek is the founder of Chile Today. He worked in Colombia, Surinam and the Netherlands as reporter and works with international media during major events, like the social crisis, the elections and the Pope’s visit.