Human Rights NATIONAL

UN slams Chile’s ‘excessive’ use of pretrial detention

SANTIAGO – In a recent report on the 2019 social uprising, the UN criticizes the overuse of pretrial detention. The institution also questions discrepancies in official figures. And the report echoes Amnesty International’s calls for a reform of the Carabineros police force.

The UN’s newest report on human rights abuses during the social uprising that started on Oct. 18 in 2019 finds pretrial detention has been used excessively, particularly against crime suspects. It also urged judicial moderation. “Pretrial detention should not be the general rule, but the exception.”

Referring to official figures, the report highlights a “dissonance and inconsistency” between institutions related to the number of current detainees. This situation is reflected in the UN not being able to access up-to-date official figures.

And the report emphasized the need to reform the Carabineros police force, as any rectifications of protocols “must still be harmonized with international law.” Amnesty International’s recent report, published on the second anniversary of the social uprising, urged reform too.

Amnesty International: Little justice in aftermath of social uprising

Acknowledging the reduction in the use of riot guns, the UN report warned against the “inappropriate use of tear gas canisters” by Carabineros recently. 

The UN further criticized Chilean police for not aiding those injured during protests and condemned “harassment and violence against health brigades, human rights observers and journalists.”

Once again, the lack of progress in investigating claims of police brutality has been a cause for concern. While the UN valued the efforts by both the Comptroller’s Office and the Public Prosecutors Office to investigate cases, it said “progress is insufficient in most investigations.” 

Jan Jarab, UN Human Rights Representative in South America, said “a generalized sense of helplessness” is observed among victims of the social uprising, with the report identifying “a lack of recognition of the responsibility of the state.

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