January 19, 2020 Codepu Team CODEPU, news, PUBLICATIONS 

At an extensive hearing, CODEPU presented its views to the Ministry of Justice’s Sub-Secretariat for Human Rights.  The central theme: the serious violations of human rights, in the context of the social and political crisis that our country has been going through for the last 90 days.

CODEPU, requested a hearing because of the visit to Chile of a delegation from the International Federation of Human Rights, FIDH – which the government postponed for various reasons  and took place on Thursday, January 16, in the offices of the «Reparticion Estatal».

At the hearing, CODEPU pointed out, from the beginning, «that the social and political crisis we are facing is rooted in an economic-political order that does not guarantee rights, that generates injustices and social inequalities». We also argued that “the crisis is accentuated by the enormous mistrust in the State institutions and the amount of abuses and deceits to which the people who live in our territory have been subjected t». And that if «the crisis is political, it requires political solutions, transformative agendas that guarantee social, economic, political, cultural and environmental rights and not laws that criminalize social protest».

Then Codepu argued that «signs of discontent have been present for a long time, reflected in the regional and student mobilizations, the environmental conflicts, the marches against pensions and the indigenous peoples’ demand for recognition, and that the answers have always been partial and/or this has only postponed the discontent”.

The Sub-Secretariat of Human Rights was informed that, since October 18, CODEPU has delivered three human rights reports to both the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. And that we have made every effort to provide care and support to the victims of human rights violations. They were informed of the complaints, the legal appeals currently before the courts and of the serious attacks on the life, physical and psychological integrity of the population by the use of dissuasive measures whose components have different characteristics than those officially accepted. To this end, the CODEPU submitted reports by the Major Team Lab from the Faculty of Science of the University of Chile as scientific evidence.

It was strongly emphasized to them that as a Sub-Secretariat for Human Rights, they should urgently promote and certify that the State watches over and guarantees the full protection of human rights and that they should have a more active public role with regard to the proposed laws that come from the Executive which should guarantee rights and not limit or criminalize social protest. We expressed our concern «that this body is questioning international reports instead of considering them as instruments that deserve to be studied, their recommendations analyzed and use to promote and guarantee human rights to the fullest”

The issues of the number of victims, the public policies of reparation that are being studied, and the situation surrounding the official figures on political prisoners and the conditions of their  detention were raised. The seriousness of the health emergency was also pointed out. Thousands of people injured by pellets and teargas and skin burns, which should lead to effective and immediate public policies.

The Chief of Staff, Nicolás Pizarro Juliá, informed about the inter-ministerial coordination in which the Sub-Secretariat intervenes pointing out human rights issues, its participation in a commission that debates what the Executive calls the Carabineros (Police) Modernization Table and the efforts that are being made to strengthen the divisions that contribute to speed up the legal processes in progress. In discussing what has happened in recent months regarding the detainees, the injured, and the wounded, he noted that the Sub-Secretariat prefers to speak of victims in general and that the figures for these can be found on their web page, in a link called Information on the situation in the country since October 19. With respect to the detainees, he said that the courts will determine innocence or guilt, and with respect to establishing Truth Commissions, he said that these were solutions to an institutional breakdown and that today the institutions are functioning.

Similarly, the Sub-Secretariat reported on the measures of care and assistance being developed to attend to victims, both in serious cases of eye trauma and any situation that seriously affects police officers.

The hearing enabled CODEPU to directly convey to the authorities its views on the serious human rights situation in recent months and to confirm to the authorities that CODEPU will continue to carry out its activity in defense and promotion of human rights in the terms that are publicly known.

The CODEPU delegation was composed of Mariela Santana Machuca, lawyer; Hiram Villagra Castro, lawyer; Oriele Núñez Serrano, doctor; Andrés Vera Quiroz, member of the Board of Directors and the Executive Secretary, Raúl Flores Castillo. The Subsecretary was represented by the aforementioned Chief of Staff, Nicolás Pizarro Julia, Álvaro Williams Vinagre, Cabinet Advisor, and the Head of Research of the Human Rights Program, Sandro Gaete Escobar, was summoned.