Canada Must Condemn Human Rights Abuses in Chile

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  • The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
  • The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • The Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of International Development
  • Global Affairs Canada, Sanctions Policy and Operations Coordination Division
  • Julie Dabrusin, MP for Toronto-Danforth

My name is Jenny Richmond-Bravo and I am a citizen of Canada, born and raised in Ontario. My husband, Rodrigo Bravo, is a Chilean-born permanent resident who has been in Canada since 1996. We live in Toronto in the Toronto-Danforth riding

We are petitioning you to ensure that Canada takes immediate action to publicly condemn the gregarious human rights violations that are currently taking place in Chile. In early October 2019, the people of Chile began protesting after the government introduced an increase in transit fare costs. This came after decades of economic oppression, and it was a catalyst in motivating Chileans to take to the streets in demand of a new constitution.  

The Chilean people’s protests have been met with systematic violence at the hands of Chile’s national police, under the direction of current president Sebastian Piñera. Some of the atrocities include the following:

President Piñera has made some changes within his cabinet, but the Chilean people feel that this action is not enough to bring about the real democratic change they are seeking. Further, Piñera continues to employ the military police despite their reported human rights abuses and use of excessive force. On November 26, Human Rights Watch released a detailed report about these human rights abuses, calling for a number of immediate reforms.

No one in Canada is talking about this. These human rights violations need to be brought to light immediately, and Canada must strongly condemn these acts in an official manner, putting international pressure on the current Chilean government to ensure these abuses stop. 

According to the Government of Canada’s online statement on Latin American relations, Canada’s priorities in the region include “strengthening democracy” and “promoting and defending human rights”. Further, the Government of Canada’s website outlines how the Peace and Stabilization Operations Program was created to support “prevention, stabilization and peacebuilding in fragile and conflict-affected states”. Finally, the Special Economic Sanctions Act allows Canada to impose international sanctions “where gross and systematic human rights violations have been committed in a foreign state”.

We call on you to uphold the values and commitments of the above-mentioned policies and programs, and to exercise your power in carrying out the following acts of support for the Chilean people:

  1. Raise awareness among Canadians of the human rights abuses currently happening in Chile
  2. Condemn these abuses in an official capacity through public statements
  3. Support the Chilean people in calling for President Piñera’s resignation and the drafting of a new constitution
  4. Impose sanctions or other consequences on the Chilean government until they comply with human rights standards

Thank you for hearing our concerns. We trust that you will do the right thing.