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Country visit to Chile

In its report on its visit to Chile from 1 to 9 September 2014, the Group could observe the numerous initiatives aimed at strengthening the legal and institutional framework and existing policies concerning the protection of women's rights and gender equality. The Group welcomed in particular the reforms proposed by the Government, which included, inter alia, a constitutional reform, quotas for political candidates, measures to eliminate violence against women, the decriminalization of abortion in certain circumstances and equality in the matrimonial regime. The Group urged Chile to adopt these reforms in order to seize a historic opportunity to improve the lives of Chilean women who are still in a situation of economic disadvantage and social exclusion. After the visit of the Working Group, Chile ratified ILO Convention 189, adopted the Civil Union Act, the electoral system reform including quotas, the Law on domestic workers and created the Ministry of Women and Equity.

Among the issues raised, the Group noted that despite having a woman Head of State and a woman President of the Senate, women's participation in political life remained low and well below the regional and international average. The Group also noted the low participation of women in the workforce and the significant persisting wage gap.  As for the public health sector, the Group noted serious gaps in the availability of preventive care for women, medical care in general and specialized treatments. The Group expressed its deep concern about the current criminalization of abortion in all circumstances, which violates women's rights and causes a significant number of abortions performed under conditions that have high risks to women's health. The Group also expressed concern at the high rates of teenage pregnancy seriously affecting the girl’s health, education and economic future. The Group was also concerned at the high prevalence of violence against women, especially against certain disadvantaged groups of women, such as migrant women, rural women, indigenous women and lesbians. The Group called on the government to ensure that indigenous women are included in all consultations concerning the communities.

The Group commended the political will of the Government to mark a profound transforming change in the lives of women moving forward from a conservative patriarchal society which has failed so far to include them equally.

Please also see the end of mission statement at: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=15005&LangID=E