• The administration of President Sebastián Piñera has taken several important steps to strengthen human rights. Since September 2010, it has ended the jurisdiction of military courts over civilians, reformed some of the most objectionable parts of counterterrorism legislation, and promulgated a law to provide redress for LGBT individuals who suffer discrimination. However, current laws continue to allow military courts to exercise jurisdiction over alleged human rights abuses committed by the Carabineros (police responsible for public order and crime prevention), and vague counterterrorism legislation remains subject to arbitrary enforcement. Police sometimes use excessive force when responding to public protests. 

  • Aug 10, 2012
    The Chilean authorities should carry out a prompt, thorough, and impartial investigation into the alleged unlawful use of force by police against members of the Mapuche indigenous community, Human Rights Watch said today. Officers found responsible for any unlawful use of force should be held to account and the injured civilians ensured an effective remedy.
  • Apr 9, 2012
    Chile’s congress should address significant shortcomings in an anti-discrimination bill currently in the final stages of parliamentary debate.

Reports

Chile

  • Aug 10, 2012
    The Chilean authorities should carry out a prompt, thorough, and impartial investigation into the alleged unlawful use of force by police against members of the Mapuche indigenous community, Human Rights Watch said today. Officers found responsible for any unlawful use of force should be held to account and the injured civilians ensured an effective remedy.
  • Apr 9, 2012
    Chile’s congress should address significant shortcomings in an anti-discrimination bill currently in the final stages of parliamentary debate.
  • Apr 9, 2012

    The recent tragic death of 24-year old Daniel Zamudio following a brutal attack by alleged neo-nazis has brought the scourge of homophobic violence to world attention and cast a spotlight on Chile’s lack of legislation to protect and defend the rights of vulnerable minorities.

  • Mar 23, 2012
    The Inter-American Court of Human Rights’ ruling that sexual orientation cannot be used to deny custody rights is a landmark case for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people throughout the Americas. The judgment, in Atala Riffo and Daughters v Chile, was issued on February 24, 2012, and made public on March 21.
  • Dec 9, 2010
    In a sequence of events on December 8, 2010, in the San Miguel prison in Santiago, a fire broke out after a riot, leaving 81 prisoners dead. In addition, 15 inmates, 5 guards, and a firefighter were treated for burns, according to press accounts. The San Miguel prison housed 1,900 inmates, despite the fact that it was built to accommodate only 1,000. Chile should immediately overhaul its prison system to end overcrowding and improve prison conditions.
  • Sep 27, 2010
    Chile should limit the scope of its military justice system and reform the country’s anti-terrorism law so that it can no longer be used to prosecute actions that do not constitute grave crimes of political violence.
  • Jan 13, 2010
    Chile should not use criminal libel laws to prevent individuals, in particular journalists, from fulfilling their role in disseminating information on matters of serious public concern.
  • Oct 16, 2008
    On October 16, 1998, London police arrested General Pinochet on a warrant from a Spanish judge for human rights crimes. In the ten years since, the world has become a smaller place for brutal despots.
  • Oct 18, 2007
    John Laughland suggests that human rights organisations, including Human Rights Watch, are more concerned about the conviction of former heads of state than about them getting fair trials. Nothing could be further from the truth.
  • Oct 1, 2007