SANTIAGO – Amnesty International published a report this week entitled “Human Rights in the Americas: 2019” which condemned the recent violence in Chile. The organization compared the current situation to that of the Pinochet dictatorship and called for action from the government. New figures for injuries and human rights violations were also released.
The report published this week by Amnesty International on the state of human rights in Latin America has further condemned the violence of special forces in Chile. The Ministry of Health revealed that in the first two months of the protests 13,000 people were injured, and more than 350 lost an eye (a few even lost two) from rubber bullets; 31 also lost their lives, four of which were at the hands of police and two while in police custody.
The report left a damning message: “Chile ended 2019 in the worst human rights crisis since the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.” Since the start of the protests on Oct. 18, more than 2,500 human rights violations complaints have been filed, calling into question the liberal use of force against civilians by the police and armed forces.
The Call for Peace
Ana Piquer, the Director of Amnesty International in Chile, spoke out on the need to address the violence in the country, especially in the face of Chile’s dark history. In a public interview, she cited the violence of the Pinochet dictatorship as the main reason for the prevailing brutality and continued disregard for the human rights of citizens: “The actions of the past do not remain in the past, because in some ways it is also what leads us not to take charge of that history and to become victims of very serious human rights violations today.”
As Chile prepares for a month of intense protesting ahead of the April plebiscite, the protection of human rights is even more crucial. President Piñera has repeatedly called for an end to violence ahead of March, although the recent Decree Nº 8 which allows the use of force by police in cases of “constitutional exception” suggests that the government is preparing for the worst.
Katie is a student from Exeter University where she is studying English Literature and Spanish. This year she is interning with Chile Today as part of her year abroad in Latin America. She believes in the importance of a global newsroom which spreads the news of the world to every corner and gives voice to the people.