Letter to Chilean Ambassador About Concern with Human Rights Violations in Chile

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Alejandro Arnaldo Marisio Cugat, Ambassador

Embassy of Chile

50 O’Connor Street, Suite 1413

Ottawa, On.

K1P 6L2


Excellency:

The recent and ongoing events in the Republic of Chile are, at the very least, causing serious concern to Canadian civil society.  The brutal force your government continues to use to repress legitimate protests about the appalling economic and social conditions for all but the wealthy do raise our concern.

According to the National Institute of Human Rights, a public but independent agency, by Wednesday October 23 there were 2,410 detained, including, 442 women and 274 minors, and 535 injured, half of them by firearms.  (The protesters are not armed.) The numbers of the arrested, injured, and killed continue to rise daily. According to reliable sources, more than 20 persons have died (none of them police or military personnel.) This situation is unacceptable even under dictatorship. It is even more deplorable in a democracy.

These protests removed the mask from the vaunted “Chilean economic miracle,” when protests over the fourth hike in Santiago subway prices turned into mass civil unrest nationwide, met by repression and violent clashes.  Massive protests erupted because it was not just the price of subway tickets, but also the prices for gasoline and electric power, the lack of proper health care, education, or housing and the miserable pensions, as well as the corruption, double standard in the justice system, denial of the rights of the Original Peoples, etc., all part of the global neoliberalism.  Simply put, people in Chile protest for their dignity as a society.  

The allowing of public demonstrations including peaceful protest is a requirement of democracy.  In Chile it is being criminalized, and met with violence, torture and sexual assault.  


Please urge the Chilean government to observe its own laws and UN conventions regarding peaceful demonstrations, pointing out that we have seen proof that it is the police who are doing the looting and vandalism that it ascribes to the demonstrators.  Today people around this planet are no longer easily fooled. We urge an immediate halt to the militarization of the Chilean commons (the streets and public places) and a lifting of the State of Emergency.

 

With respect,

Concerned Canadians and residents.