giovedì 16 maggio 2013

Statement of Chile's Ethical Commission Against Torture before the number of people recently kidnapped and tortured in Chile

It is with great respect, as well as urgency, that I request from you to read this document, to pass it around and demand from your national authorities, worldwide, and to all organisations committed to the protection of human rights to demand from Chile's government  to guarantee the respect of all human rights of all Chileans, from all walks of life -students, workers, First Nations, Teachers, children, elderly, women, etc- and to stop the outrageous violations herein exposed. Chile's is having a Presidential election next November, which is under the rules and conditions imposed by Dictator Pinochet. For now, 23 years, the post dictatorship model persists. The Constitution of Chile is ilegitimate and protects an undemocratic and repressive State. Chile's civil society demands for a genuine Constitutional Assembly to produce a democratic Constitution.
Please, note: This message has the Statement both in English and Spanish


Santiago, Chile 15 de Mayo 15, 2013

The Ethical Commission Against Torture before the number of people recently kidnapped and tortured in Chile, states:

1. - A year ago we warned the public opinion that the government of Pinero by sending a bill with more restrictions on public demonstrations, with drastic prohibitions on the rights of assembly, expression, association and expression, similar to that established by a state of siege, began a spiral of repression whose main objective was to control the social body, to keep it immobile, and unable to continue to mobilize for their human rights.

2. - Today, yet when Parliament has not approved the bill, the Interior Ministry who has under his command all police actions, simply has placed itself outside the law and of the rule of law by allowing the seizure and torture of people. Without the slightest willingness to investigate the allegations presented on these matters, the Ministry of Interior, quite the contrary, has come out publicly to justify the ongoing police actions, where direct repression of public marches, criminalization and kidnapping of protesters has led to arrests and torture without a warrant.

3. - We saw with astonishment neither that these are isolated incidents nor that police personnel are operating teams outside of any control. This is an action designed, coordinated and executed by government agents who know they will go unpunished and supported by the government. Furthermore, in less than a week police have kidnapped and tortured a 17 year old student from Lyceum Borgoño, on May 8 in downtown Santiago, and in the same day and context, in Temuco an other college student was also detained and brutally treated. These occurred in the context of a student demonstration called by CONFECH (Chile’s Students Confederation). We must add the kidnapping of three underage students near the Lyceum Borgoño on May 9 at a time when students gathered to go to Court where their companions kidnapped the day before would be formalized; on May 14, a Human Rights Observer was abducted in broad daylight, by people who did not identify themselves, that had beaten her, showed pictures of protesters and threatened with death.  Added to this is the claim made to the relevant authorities by two Prosecutors of the Republic of suffering police aggression in Santiago at the Justice Centre, on May 9, by members of special police forces, in the context of formalization of the students arrested and of the allegations of torture publicly performed by their peers.

4. - It is necessary to stop this situation as it dangerously approaches the loss of all democratic spaces. Police must not move to take another branch of government such as the Courts and the Public Prosecutor, who are mandated to investigate crimes, enforce laws and penalties provided for persons who commit a crime. In no case shall the Executive Power nor any police executive may have the power to kidnap and torture people. Furthermore, in the case of minors there is an obligation to communicate in the shortest time with their parents if they are detained.

5. - It is necessary to remind the Government, especially the Ministry of Interior and police institutions, that in our country is in effect the absolute prohibition of torture since the late 80s. And, to remember that for more than three years, the State of Chile at the United Nations has pledged to establish compulsory national mechanisms to investigate all acts of torture, consistent with the obligations arising from the ratification by Chile of the Optional Protocol to the International Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading abuses. These measures have not been implemented.

6. - For all the above, we call the National Human Rights Institute (INDH) to pay attention to all people who have been kidnapped and tortured, and to the aftermath and harm they could have suffered; the INDH must demand a thorough investigation from the Courts of Justice to identify the agents who have acted on these facts and to the superior controls that have ordered these actions. A demand for the appropriate punishment of these crimes of torture, according to the definition stated by the International Convention that Chile has signed and ratified. For our part we will send these records to the Human Rights Commission and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), and we are not ruling out to seek injunctive measures before these agencies to provide greater security for human rights defenders in Chile.

7. - Finally, we call on all mobilized citizens to demand respect for their rights, to organize and strengthen the bonds of solidarity within their organizations and to promote self-care of their members. We urge Parliament and especially, the Human Rights Commissions of both chambers to investigate and question the Home Secretary as well as the Directors of the two police bodies (civil and militarized).

We convoke all Organizations advocating the respect of human rights to inform the various social organizations on this serious situation, in order to express their most emphatic rejection of torture.

                                                                       Santiago de Chile

(Traducción al inglés de José Venturelli)

Texto en Castellano: 

José Venturelli, Pediatrician
Member of European Secretariat of Chile's Ethical Commission Against Torture
International Spokesperson of Chile's College of Physicians and Surgeons' Department of Human Rights
Professor Emeritus, Pediatrics, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

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