SANTIAGO – Titled “Piñera Owes Us”, Amnesty International in Chile released a report last Thursday criticizing the current administration for violating human rights. In nearly all areas, the government gets the qualification of being “in debt”. Members of the government responded surprised by the findings from the report.
“Piñera Owes Us”. “Give Him The Bill”. “In Debt” with human rights. The report as released by Amnesty International on Thursday pulled no punches and presented an unusual sharp view on the current government’s stance on human rights.
The Chilean government falls short in nearly all areas analyzed, according to the NGO. The “bill” as presented to the Piñera administration is categorized in three: in the first category, the President’s debt increased, in the second category his debt perpetuated and in the third category, Piñera paid his debt with human rights.
No firmó el tratado de Escazú. Ha entorpecido la aplicación de la Ley de Aborto en 3 Causales. Continuó criminalizando al pueblo mapuche. #PiñeraNosDebe en materia de #DerechosHumanos, por eso hoy le pasamos la cuenta. Revísala en https://t.co/L5sXqcMozH pic.twitter.com/7eTZB3B7e3
— Amnistía Chile (@amnistiachile) May 30, 2019
The Report: The Increased Debt
The list of violations that made the government’s debt increase according to Amnesty International extends to ten topics. An example is the decision to not sign the Treaty of Escazú, a treaty that obliges countries to take consultations from citizens before making a decision on a project that could have an environmental impact. Also, the protection of environmental activists falls under this treaty.
Another subject is the withdrawal from the government from the Global Migration Pact. Just hours before world leaders gathered to sign the UN migration pact, Chile pulled out, a decision that surprised many. The creation of the “Jungle Command”, the elite forces responsible for the death of Mapuche man Camilo Catrillanca, and the use of the Anti-Terrorist Law get criticized and security measures such as the Identity Control-law for minors, the “Safe Streets-project” and the controversial “Aula Segura”-law are also listed.
The Report: The Perpetuated Debt
On legislative areas that haven’t advanced or worsened, Amnesty International lists nine points, starting with what the organization calls the “poor protection of the LGBTIQ + community”. An example is an attack that took place on Valentine’s Day, when a young woman suffered an alleged homophobic attack and found herself hospitalized with severe injuries.
Other violations from the government are found in the fact that the individual and collective rights of indigenous peoples are not recognized (yet) by this government, that Chilean children still do not receive comprehensive sexual education and that no measures have been introduced to prevent and punish the excessive use of force by policemen, for example during marches.
Amnesty also finds a debt in environmental matters, inspired by the events that happened in Quintero, where over a thousand citizens were hospitalized with intoxication symptoms after inhaling toxic clouds from nearby industrial complexes.
The Report: The Decreased Debt
In two areas, the government did well, reads the report. One of them is the Gender Identity Law, a law that took five years to get through Congress and that allows people over 18 years to change their gender in their legal documents. Minors over 14 years are allowed to do so with authorization of their parents.
Government: Amnesty International Is “Biased And Ideological”
When responding for the first time, Interior Minister Andrés Chadwick hadn’t read the report. Nevertheless, he described the paper as “biased and strongly ideologized”.
“I have not been able to read the official report. I only have the press information. But I think it is a biased report, misinformed and strongly ideological. It is lacking the truth”, the Minister said according to El Dinamo.
On Friday, the Ministry of Justice released a statement, acknowledging their surprise: “We are surprised by this report. It lacks objectivity and has ideological bias. As a government, we expect a frank but constructive tone, as in the annual reports traditionally published by Amnesty”.
Editor-In-Chief Boris van der Spek is the founder of Chile Today. He worked in Colombia, Surinam and the Netherlands as reporter and made appearances on BBC World Services and ABC News during major events in Chile.