Chile: UN confirms human rights violations during protests

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UN Human Rights Office report on the Chile crisis describes multiple police violations and calls for reforms.

United Nations (UN) human rights report released Friday accused Chilean security forces of serious human rights violations against protesters over the past two months, including deaths, torture, sexual abuse and the use of excessive force.

The high commissioner’s report, which drew push-back from Chilean officials, urged the government to allow its citizens to peacefully demonstrate without being physically harmed.

“There are reasonable grounds to believe that… a high number of serious human rights violations have been committed,” the report said. “The majority of those who have exercised the right to the assembly during this period, have done so in a peaceful manner.”

The UN report coincided with the assertions of other organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the autonomous National Institute of Human Rights of Chile.

It highlighted the roughly 350 people left with eye or facial injuries caused by security forces firing shotguns at close proximity to demonstrators. Human rights officials said this proves that “less-lethal weapons” had been used “improperly and indiscriminately,” contrary to international principles on minimizing the risk of injury.

Police reported that they have launched 856 internal investigations, and they have fired eight riot police accused of “serious breach of protocols.” Most cases are ongoing, more are ready for judgment and other officers have been acquitted, officials said.

The High Commissioner’s office urged Chile to adopt measures such as supervising the activities of the security forces, ensuring that they use identification. Officials need to take steps ensuring accountability in relation to human rights violations and recognize these violations.

Source: AP.

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