“The report concluded that there were well-founded reasons to maintain that, as of October 18, there had been a high number of serious human rights violations, including the excessive or unnecessary use of force, which resulted in arbitrary deprivation of life and injuries, torture and ill-treatment, sexual violence, and arbitrary detentions. These violations were committed throughout the country, but the vast majority occurred in the Metropolitan Region and in urban contexts ”.
The extract is part of what the former President Michelle Bachelet, in her capacity as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights -and as La Tercera PM revealed yesterday-, to one of the questions asked by the prosecutor Claudia Perivancich, who processes more than 20 complaints against different authorities of the country for alleged crimes against humanity, as of that date.
And it is that at the end of October and until mid-November, an observer mission sent by Bachelet’s office was established in the country which, among its conclusions, determined that there was “Unnecessary and disproportionate use of less lethal weapons, in particular riot control shotguns,” by Carabineros de Chile.
And despite the fact that in the statement the high commissioner responds that there has been dialogue “with various authorities to find out their versions, perspectives and data on possible human rights violations committed in the context of the mobilizations in Chile,” He also pointed to a lack of collaboration from the Ministry of the Interior, Defense and even from Health.
“The regional office has not been able to hold meetings with the highest authorities of the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of the Interior for reasons beyond the control of the office (…). On the other hand, the regional office intervened in the Interministerial Committee for Human Rights, in its meeting on January 30, 2020, expressing its concern about cases of excessive use of force, ”the ex-president details.
The letter from the United Nations
Regarding said session of the Interministerial Committee on Human Rights, the undersecretary of the Interior, Juan Francisco Galli, specifies that “on January 30, 2020, in this interministerial committee, the head of the regional office of the high commissioner expressed concern about the progress of his recommendations. However, on December 19, 2019, former Minister Blumel had responded, with the status of progress of the 16 measures adopted by the government in matters of human rights and public order ”.
Along these lines, Galli comments that, even in the middle of the year, a letter from the United Nations “congratulating us on the update of the riot shotgun protocol. Measures were taken and we were congratulated for that ”.
The letter, dated July 23, 2020 and signed by Silvia Rucks, coordinator of the United Nations System in Chile, indicates that “The changes introduced (in the protocol) advance in ensuring respect for people’s rights and they respond to some of the concerns raised at the meeting held on November 12 at the Palacio de La Moneda ”.
Next, they emphasize that “We value the incorporation of specific measures to protect the identity of people who are exercising their right to freedom of peaceful assembly and demonstration.” However, they specify that “this is an important step and a necessary step, but it is not enough.”
On why Bachelet exposed a lack of cooperation to the prosecutor, Galli comments to La Tercera that “I do not want to attribute intentions, but probably the representative of the High Commissioner in the Region did not announce all the steps taken by the State of Chile in this matter.”
The United Nations commented that the letter that was sent to the former Minister of the Interior Gonzalo Blumel, his counterpart in Justice, Hernán Larraín, and the former General Director of Carabineros Mario Rozas, it does not have the tenor of a “congratulations.” Even -and in this same newspaper-, Rucks has referred to this issue detailing that “improving protocols is an important step, but not a sufficient one. In addition, a reform is required that results in a modern police, respectful of people’s rights, transparent and with effective accountability mechanisms ”.