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Committee against Torture examines Chili's report

GENEVA (31 July 2018) - The Committee against Torture this afternoon concluded its consideration of the sixth periodic report of Chile on the efforts made by the State party to implement the provisions of the Convention against Torture.

Introducing the report, Lorena Recabarren, Human Rights Undersecretary at the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights of Chile, listed some achievements in the implementation of the Convention against Torture, among them the entry into force of the law no. 20.968 in 2016, which brought the definition of torture in line with international standards and excluded the jurisdiction of military courts in such matters.  The law no. 21.013 of 2017 brought about the standalone crime of ill-treatment under the Criminal Code.  Additionally, the National Senate was currently deliberating on a bill designating the National Commission for Human Rights as the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture.  The Government had recently created a sub-secretariat for human rights to coordinate all State policies with respect to human rights, and in December 2017, the Government had adopted the first National Plan for Human Rights 2018-2021.  As for the transitional justice process, the State was aware of the importance of punishing serious human rights violations which had taken place in the country between 1973 and 1990, and it had done everything in its power to provide reparations to the victims of those crimes.  

In the ensuing discussion, the Committee Experts while recognizing that overcoming the consequences of systematic human rights violations during the dictatorship in Chile between 1973 and 1990 took years, noted that such a heritage should not represent a justification or an obstacle for preventing and combatting human rights abuses.  They positively noted the adoption of the first National Human Rights Plan 2018-2022, and the modifications of Chile’s Penal Code.  The Experts further inquired about the statute of limitation for the crimes of torture, the inadmissibility of pardons and amnesties, institutional dependence of the police, fundamental legal safeguards, the national human rights institution and the national mechanism for the prevention of torture, reform of the Code of Military Justice, pre-trial detention and alternatives to detention, medical care in prisons, social reintegration of prisoners, and women and minors in detention.  Other issues raised included the protection of refugees and migrants, human trafficking and sexual exploitation, violence against children, prohibition of corporal punishment, police violence against the Mapuche community and peaceful demonstrators, the use of terrorist charges against Mapuche leaders, statistics on compensation and rehabilitation for victims of torture and ill-treatment, especially for the victims of the dictatorship between 1973 and 1990, confidentiality of medical examination of inmates, early identification of signs of torture, and the ongoing investigation of the Condor Plan cases of torture.

In her concluding remarks, Ms. Recabarren noted that to meet human rights standards was a demanding task, which was why the Government would take seriously everything that the Committee against Torture would communicate to the authorities.  Chile would never tolerate torture or cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, and it would go beyond the standards set out in the Convention.  

Jens Modvig, Committee Chairperson, reminded the delegation of the 48-hour deadline to submit additional replies in writing, and thanked the delegation for its constructive participation in the dialogue.

The delegation of Chile included representatives of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Women and Gender Equality, the Ministry of the Interior, and of the Permanent Mission of Chile to the United Nations Office at Geneva.

The Committee will next meet in public on Tuesday, 7 August, at 10 a.m. to consider the follow-up to articles 19 and 22, and reprisals.  

Report

The sixth periodic report of Chile can be read here: CAT/C/CHL/6.


Presentation of the Report

LORENA RECABARREN, Human Rights Undersecretary at the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights of Chile, reminded that at the moment of Chile’s ratification of the Convention in 1988, the country was ruled by a dictatorship for which the prevention of torture and ill-treatment was far from a priority.  Nowadays, 30 years after the ratification, the prevention and punishment of torture was a genuine priority for the Government of Chile, considering the country’s painful experience of dictatorship.  Turning to achievements in the implementation of the Convention, Ms. Recabarren singled out the entry into force of the law no. 20.968 in 2016, which brought the definition of torture in line with international standards and excluded the jurisdiction of military courts in such matters.  The law no. 21.013 of 2017 brought about the standalone crime of ill-treatment under the Criminal Code.  The National Senate was currently deliberating on a bill designating the National Commission for Human Rights as the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture.  With respect to institutions, the Government had recently created a sub-secretariat for human rights to coordinate all State policies with respect to human rights.  In December 2017, the Government had adopted the first National Plan for Human Rights 2018-2021, embodying the main inter-sectoral priorities in the field of human rights, with more than 600 targets to accomplish.  The Government was committed to advance full respect for the rights and dignity of women, adopting concrete measures to fight all types of violence, abuse, discrimination and mistreatment of women.  The authorities had created distinct units for human rights in each State institution, and had made important progress in the prevention and punishment of trafficking in persons.  As for the transitional justice process, the State was aware of the importance of punishing perpetrators of serious human rights violations which had taken place in Chile between 1973 and 1990.  Chile had done everything in its power to provide reparation to the victims of those crimes, which had exceeded $ 6.2 million.  The Ministry of Justice had also strengthened the procedure to identify the remains of victims of enforced disappearances.  

Turning to challenges, Ms. Recabarren underlined the situation of vulnerable adolescents and children.  The Government had carried a series of actions to promote the protection of children, such as the creation of the Sub-Secretariat for Childhood and of the Ombudsperson for Children, as well as the draft bill on sexual offences against boys and girls.  In 2013, the Government had elaborated the first report on the situation of boys, girls and adolescents, and as a result it had created a working group consisting of all political stakeholders and civil society to come up with a national plan for childhood.  Another area of challenge was the protection of the dignity of persons deprived of their liberty in prisons.  The conditions of certain detention facilities represented a type of ill-treatment, and the authorities were aware of it.  In that respect, the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights was currently reforming the rules for the management of penitentiary facilities, aimed at incorporating the recommendations of international bodies with respect to the deprivation of liberty.  

Questions by the Country Rapporteurs

ANA RACU, Committee Expert and Country Co-Rapporteur for Chile, while recognizing that overcoming the consequences of systematic human rights violations during the dictatorship in Chile between 1973 and 1990 took years, noted that such a heritage should not represent a justification or an obstacle for preventing and combatting human rights abuses.  Ms. Racu commended the adoption of the first National Human Rights Plan 2018-2022.  

Drawing attention to the definition of torture, Ms. Racu positively noted the modifications of Chile’s Penal Code, but reminded that the definition of torture did not refer to acts of torture committed with the purpose of intimidating or coercing a third person.  Was the statute of limitation applicable to the crimes of torture?  Did the law adopted in 2016 establish the inadmissibility of pardons and amnesties, which would prevent impunity for crimes as serious as those that had occurred during the Chilean military dictatorship?  Did the State party intend to adopt the necessary amendments to the Criminal Code in order to cover all the elements contained in articles 1 through 4 of the Convention?  

What was the status of the bill that provided for the inadmissibility of amnesties, pardons and limitations with respect to crimes that constituted genocide, crimes against humanity and war?  The Committee encouraged the State party to adopt legislative measures to put an end to the validity of the Amnesty Decree of 1978?  What was the status of the legislative initiative that would amend the law to declassify the testimonies received by the Valech Commission?      

Moving on to the institutional dependence of the police, Ms. Racu recalled that although the police force had become dependent on the Ministry of the Interior in 2011, its operational functioning continued to be militarized and under the paradigms of the national security and internal enemy doctrine, carrying out its operations with a high degree of autonomy and little civilian oversight.  There was no public body in charge of supervising the correct application of police protocols.  What was the current status of police forces, their functional competence and subordination, and their protocols, including those that regulated the maintenance of public order, crowd control and the use of force?  

As for fundamental legal safeguards, in practice the access to legal counsel might be deficient.  Was there any possibility to monitor whether persons under police custody had been provided with access to counsel shortly after arrest?  Was there any register in place that could confirm in a written form that detained persons had had access to counsel?  Had any police officer been disciplined for failing to provide a detainee with access to a lawyer?  Were there any legal amendments stipulating the mandatory audio-visual recording of police interrogation rooms?

With respect to access to a medical doctor, Ms. Racu pointed out that medical examination frequently took place in the presence of police officers, thus undermining the right to privacy and medical confidentiality.  Were detainees provided with a copy of the results of the medical examination?  Were there enough medical personnel to perform medical examinations and did doctors receive any training on identifying signs of torture?  

On the national human rights institution and the national mechanism for the prevention of torture, Ms. Racu highlighted visits to places of detention after social protests.  However, in many cases there were delays at the entrance to police stations.  There was a limited number of staff to carry out monitoring visits.  Had special units been established to protect the rights of women, indigenous peoples, and migrants?  What was the status of the bill on the establishment of a national mechanism for the prevention of torture?  Did it contain provisions that were in conformity with the Optional Protocol, especially on the selection of its members, its impartiality and independence?  

With respect to the reform of the Code of Military Justice, Ms. Racu reminded that until 2016 there had been total impunity for police officers, and that military courts had lacked impartiality.  For example, police violence against the Mapuche people was investigated by prosecutors of the Public Ministry’s Office and in the vast majority of cases had ended in dismissal or early termination.  

Speaking of pre-trial detention and alternatives to detention, the Co-Rapporteur pointed out to the increased custody rates and asked for an update on the number of pre-trial detainees in the past three years, and the proportion of people that had been in custody and that had received penalties of deprivation of liberty.  She further drew attention to overcrowding in the vast majority of places of detention, the use of prolonged isolation, and the problems of infrastructure (electricity and water).  

Regarding medical care in prisons, there was a high number of drug- and alcohol-addicted prisoners who did not have access to addiction treatment.  The same was true about mental health programmes.  What efforts had been made to improve the social reintegration of prisoners?  The fights and violence inside prisons were the second cause of death in custody.  Had the State party made an analysis of the main factors contributing to deaths in custody?  

Turning to women in detention, the Committee was concerned about the poor material conditions in detention facilities, namely lack of sanitary facilities and privacy, invasive body searches, and about the disproportionate effect of pre-trial detention on women and the psychological impact on mothers, particularly on single mothers.  What was the status of the construction of the new women’s correctional facility, and of the measures to improve the status and conditions of women in prisons?  

On minors in detention, Ms. Racu drew attention to a high number of violent incidents and suicide attempts among juveniles due to severe overcrowding, as well as to lengthy pre-trial detention.  Were there any alternatives to detention available in national legislation?  Were minors offered any social and educational programmes while in detention?  

As for gender-based violence, legislative proposals did not include a definition of violence against women committed by agents of the State, nor of institutional violence.  Women and girls of Mapuche and Pewenche communities were particularly vulnerable and were frequently subjected to various forms of violence and discrimination by the police forces, public officials and even medical doctors.  Ms. Racu inquired about the allegations of police officers who had committed acts of sexual violence against young and teenage girls and women during peaceful protests.

Moving on to the protection of refugees and migrants, the Co-Rapporteur stressed the importance of adopting new migration legislation.  What was the status of the 2013 draft Migration Law?  There was no mechanism in place to deal with the potential protection needs of persons subject to expulsion, return and extradition.  Had there been any cases in which Chile’s authorities had investigated allegations that refugees had been subjected to ill-treatment by border migration police to deport them from the country?  In 2017, there had been a sharp increase in the number of asylum applications at Chile’s northern borders.  Would the appeal procedure be modified in order to ensure the rights of migrants to a fair and reasonable timeliness procedures?  How many detention centres for migrants existed in the country?  What was their occupancy rate and how many days could migrants spend in detention centres according to national legislation?  Of particular concern were the material conditions in the migrant detention centre at the international airport of Santiago.  

With respect to human trafficking and sexual exploitation, Ms. Racu reminded that Chile was a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children subjected to trafficking for sexual exploitation and forced labour.  What measures had been taken to improve the rehabilitation of victims of trafficking?  

On violence against children, the Co-Rapporteur commended the establishment of a Children’s Ombudsperson.  Despite the progress achieved, Chile still needed to address violence against children in residential centres, including those run by civil society.  What steps had been taken by the State to monitor the situation of children placed in those centres, and to investigate 256 registered deaths?  The poor participation of children and families in decision-making processes remained a concern for many.  

Speaking of the protection of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons, Ms. Racu asked for relevant statistics on violent incidents against activists for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons.  What was the situation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons in detention?  What measures had been taken to respect the physical integrity and autonomy of intersex persons?  

DIEGO RODRÍGUEZ PINZÓN, Committee Experts and Country Co-Rapporteur for Chile, welcomed that as of 2010 regular training programmes for the Police Investigative School had been updated, and that the police had created a department for human rights, and had strengthened internal oversight mechanisms.  Mr. Pinzón asked the delegation to provide information on how many police officers had taken training programmes, and on how the State monitored their impact.  How many complaints had been sent to the police human rights department?      

What type of activities had the Sub-Secretariat for Human Rights undertaken in recent years?  What was its budget for the training of armed forces and law enforcement forces?  What was the number of public officials who had undergone training on the Istanbul Protocol each year?  What was the curricula for those training programmes?  The Committee had received information that the personnel of the National Service for Minors did not receive proper training.  

Turning to the number of complaints of torture and ill-treatment, Mr. Pinzón noted a considerable increase in the number of tried cases in 2012.  What were the reasons behind this dramatic increase?  When would the State party establish a system of registration of cases of torture and ill-treatment disaggregated by sex, age, and belonging to vulnerable groups.  Could the delegation comment on allegations that police agents had been threatening people who had been arrested during social protests with charges of felony?

Speaking of the excessive use of force by the police, Mr. Pinzón asked about the type of disciplinary measures handed down.  What kind of internal administrative processes were in place to deal with the excessive use of force by the police?  

How did the delegation explain the short lifespan of the advisory commission that had been established to ensure the recognition of the status of political prisoners who had disappeared and had been executed and the victims of political imprisonment and torture?  Approximately 22,000 persons had possibly been victims of torture.  What criteria had been used to determine victims of torture?

On police violence against the Mapuche community, Mr. Pinzón inquired about standard operating police proceedings when dealing with indigenous peoples.  What were the powers of police patrols for indigenous communities?  Furthermore, the Co-Repporteur observed that there was a decreased number of prosecutions of cases of violence against indigenous peoples in 2015, and he asked about the investigation of a Mapuche youth in August 2009 (José Facundo Mendoza Collio).

How had the law on penalties for terrorist behaviour (law no. 18.314) changed?  How would the State ensure that the proposed changes would guarantee fundamental human rights?  The Inter-American Commission for Human Rights had voiced concern that the notion of “terrorism against property” was ambiguous, and that the anti-terrorism law should not be applied against the Mapuche people, or on the grounds of ethnicity and culture.  Since 2009, there had been 11 proceedings against 78 Mapuche persons on charges of terrorism.  The State was using the law no. 18.314 to extend pre-trial detention.  What was the number of proceedings under the law no. 18.314 during the reporting period?  How long did suspects spend in pre-trial detention?

The Operation Hurricane initiated in September 2017 had targeted eight Mapuche leaders in the regions of Bio Bio, La Araucaria and Los Ríos on charges of terrorism.  It was later discovered that the police had planted information on the mobile phones of those Mapuche leaders through the WhatsApp application, among others.  Another concern was that the State had used the Law on the National Intelligence Agency to intercept mobile phone communications without relevant warrants.  What legal recourse was available to persons subjected to anti-terrorist measures?      

Mr. Pinzón furthermore asked for statistics on compensation and rehabilitation for victims of torture and ill-treatment, especially for the victims of the dictatorship between 1973 and 1990 (the Compensation and Comprehensive Health-Care Programme – PRAIS).  

Speaking of cases when courts had admitted evidence obtained through torture, Mr. Pinzón reminded of the case of Mr. José Miguel Peralino (“Luchsinger-Mackay”) and asked the delegation to provide information on other cases where courts admitted evidence obtained by torture and other ill-treatment.

The Co-Rapporteur further inquired about the prohibition of corporal punishment in all settings, and the criminalization of acts of cruelty against children and adolescents, as well as adults in guardianship care.  

Questions by Committee Experts

The Committee Experts inquired about the sexual abuse of the elderly and persons with disabilities, including the use of restraints and forced medication.  

What action and charges had been applied to cases of sexual abuse perpetrated by members of the Catholic Church?  

How many cases of torture during the dictatorship referred to the Condor Plan?  Did Chile have cooperation agreements with other Governments in Latin America that had participated in the Condor Plan?

JENS MODVIG, Committee Chairperson, asked the delegation to elaborate on the duties of medical doctors at the National Service for Minors (SENAME).  

Replies by the Delegation

The delegation clarified that as per the criminal procedure reform, the investigation of crimes was exclusively carried out by the Prosecutor General’s Office, which was separate from the judiciary.  

The new definition of torture in the Criminal Code was fully in line with the Convention against Torture.  The crime of torture was included in line with the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture.  The law stipulated at least 7.5 years of imprisonment for the crime of torture, while the longest possible sentence was life imprisonment.  

A reduction of the sentence was possible based on the severity of the crime of torture, which also changed the statute of limitation.  There were three different levels of the statute of limitation: five years for the crimes of torture proper, 15 years for aggravated torture, and five years for cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.  The statute of limitation could not apply to those crimes which were defined as the most serious crimes in line with international standards.  

On retroactive application of the law, the delegation said that it was possible in some cases.  As for the case of Mr. José Miguel Peralino (“Luchsinger-Mackay”), the General Prosecutor’s Office had taken all measures to define who could be criminally liable.  The Office had also been instructed to prosecute all cases of sexual abuse perpetrated by members of the Catholic Church.  Due diligence was applied to all cases in order to guarantee accountability and to address allegations of torture and ill-treatment in the prison system.  

The total number of cases of redress for recent victims of torture and ill-treatment and their family members between 2009 and May 2018 stood at 1,402 cases.  The delegation said that there was a difference between redress established by law and that determined by courts.  

The law amending the authority of military courts of 2011, and the law criminalizing torture of 2016 had limited the jurisdiction of military courts, and established that civilians and minors could under no circumstances be prosecuted by military courts.  Accordingly, the scope of military jurisdiction had been curtailed to strictly military matters.  In addition, there were oversight mechanisms to ensure that military courts did not try civilians.  Any challenges in jurisdiction between ordinary and military courts would be resolved by the Supreme Court.  

Turning to the penitentiary system, Chile gave priority to the physical integrity and human dignity of persons deprived of their liberty, and it safeguarded their right to inform their relatives within 24 hours after the arrest.  As for women in detention, many served alternative sentences, while those who were incarcerated could attend various educational and rehabilitation programmes.  Chile had been proactive in legal changes in promoting alternative measures to detention.  

Only 22 per cent of the prison population served their sentences in isolation, and they never spent more than two days in isolation cells.  There were maximum security cells in prisons, but inmates could still access lawyers.  The authorities had carried out refurbishment of the electric installations in prisons in order to prevent fires, and they had contemplated the construction of new prisons.  They had taken into account the needs and situation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons, persons with disabilities, minors, indigenous peoples, and the elderly in prisons.  Most of the complaints received in the prison system referred to physical integrity.  

The gendarmerie (law enforcement forces) did not belong to the armed forces.  Its department for human rights ensured that its members were trained on the principles of human rights.  The gendarmerie had several oversight mechanisms, such as a complaints reception mechanism, a telephone anonymous service, and a mechanism to sanction police officers guilty of misconduct.  Members of the gendarmerie received training on the use of force, evacuations, maintenance of public order, and work with the press and civil society.  Operational manuals were not disclosed to the public.  The motto of the gendarmerie was to protect and work with the public; the gendarmerie did not try to hide misconduct in its ranks.  

The gendarmerie had established standards and guidelines to reduce the amount of time that minors would spend in police custody, and to speed up notification of family members.  Since 2015, civil society representatives had been able to visit police detention units and vehicles.  There were cameras in police detention units, as well as in some vehicles.  Another improvement in police work was the introduction of exclusive female police units, and non-carrying of fire arms when dealing with peaceful protests.  In addition, there were 11 indigenous police patrols in the country.  

Moving on to the legislative process in Chile, the delegation explained that both the Senate and the Congress had thematic committees to consider bills.  The operation of the national mechanism for the prevention of torture would proceed differently from the National Human Rights Commission.  The executive had recently offered comments on the draft bill on the national mechanism for the prevention of torture.  The adoption of the law stipulating that the National Human Rights Commission would act as a national mechanism for the prevention of torture was a priority for the Government.      
     
In November 2014, the Government had merged legislation on terrorist activities, in keeping with Chile’s international obligations.  Special investigation procedures applied to cases of terrorist activities.  The judge could extend the pre-trial detention for terrorist suspects up to 10 days.  It was never the intention of the Government to use terrorist charges against the Mapuche community.  Nevertheless, the Government had to look into instances of violence, which in some cases could be characterized as terrorism.  

On groups requiring special protection, LORENA RECABARREN, Human Rights Undersecretary at the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights of Chile, noted that Chile had made significant progress in respecting diversity and the principle of non-discrimination.  There was no information on the number of cases of torture and ill-treatment in prisons.  Speaking of the Mapuche people and other indigenous peoples, she said the Government was committed to strengthen its dialogue with indigenous communities.  

The delegation explained that the goal of the draft bill on migration was to regulate the inflow, outflow and transfer of migrants.  It governed the rights and obligations of foreigners in line with the principle of non-criminalization of migration.  Chile was party to the United Nations Conventions on Statelessness.  In 2017, the Government had granted citizenship to 130 stateless children.  

As for the protection of refugees, if a person demanded the status of a refugee at the border, it would be recorded.  If a person tried to cross the border clandestinely, he or she would be informed that they had to submit the relevant request within 10 days.  There were no detention centres for migrants; there were transit places for those who were transiting or were about to be expelled to third countries.  The Government was organizing a training course on border control management and trafficking in persons.  

With respect to gender-based violence, it was an issue of close concern for the Government.  A draft bill on institutional violence against women was presented in January 2017.  It was currently being processed in the first legislative round.  A technical roundtable had been set up in July 2018 to make concrete proposals on gender-based violence, such as prevention of femicide, and it had put together a registry of cases of violence against women.  Within the context of the 2016-2017 peaceful social demonstrations, there had been 11 complaints of police violence against female demonstrators.        

There was no overcrowding among boys, girls and adolescents in a closed detention regime.  The Law on Adolescents stipulated the ways in which the police needed to consult with social services on juvenile offenders.  Juvenile detention centres provided adequate educational, sport and leisure activities to minors.  Adolescents could file confidential complaints during visits by representatives of the Ministry of Justice, the Ombudsperson, and civil society.  There was a cross-cutting interest in improving the situation of juvenile offenders.  As for the 256 registered deaths of minors, those had occurred in residential detention centres and were currently being investigated.

Second Round of Questions by the Country Rapporteurs

ANA RACU, Committee Expert and Country Co-Rapporteur for Chile, reiterated her questions about the Amnesty Decree Law no. 2191, and about the 50-year secrecy rule on the statements gathered by the Valech Commission.  She inquired about the monitoring of places of detention, residences for children, and mental hospitals.  

The Co-Rapporteur further asked about the confidentiality of medical examination of inmates, and the documentation of injuries and early identification of signs of torture.  How many examination reports had resulted in prosecution of torture and ill-treatment?  

Ms. Racu reminded the delegation that it had not provided information about the access to medical care in prisons, measures to prevent violent incidents among prisoners, and about the investigation of death in custody.  What was the number of medical staff in prisons?  What concrete measures had been taken to reduce overcrowding and improve material conditions in prisons?    

What was the appeal procedure for migrants and refugees?  Had there been any improvements since the State party’s previous review?  

What were the protection measures for intersex persons?

DIEGO RODRÍGUEZ PINZÓN, Committee Experts and Country Co-Rapporteur for Chile, asked about the investigation of the perpetrators of abuses during Operation Hurricane, and welcomed the Government’s willingness to strengthen dialogue with indigenous communities.  

What conclusions could the delegation draw from the available figures on police violence?  Could the statute of limitation be challenged in the cases of torture and ill-treatment previously tried by the military courts?

What was the content of the training programmes and of the disciplinary proceedings for the gendarmerie?  

Turning to indigenous peace patrols, Mr. Pinzón asked about the specific training to those patrols.  As for the Anti-Terrorism Law, it should not be applied to the Mapuche community.  Instead, the regular criminal law should apply.  

How could the Compensation and Comprehensive Health-Care Programme (PRAIS) be improved?  

Second Round of Questions by Committee Experts

An Expert raised the issue of the ongoing trials of cases of torture committed during the dictatorship.  How many pending cases on the Condor Plan existed in Chile?  How many cooperation agreements did Chile have with other Governments in Latin America that had participated in the Condor Plan?

What was the Government’s intention to improve contributions to the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture?  

The Special Rapporteur on freedom of association had previously expressed concern about impunity for police violence against peaceful demonstrators.  How many complaints had resulted in prosecutions?  

An Expert asked whether women were at risk of coerced confessions when seeking medical treatment.  

Replies by the Delegation

LORENA RECABARREN, Human Rights Undersecretary at the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights of Chile, explained that the mandate of the Valech Commission had expired and that nowadays there was no other commission to determine who the victims of past crimes were.  As for the 50-year secrecy rule on the statements gathered by the Valech Commission, it did not apply to individuals who could take that information to court.  The secrecy rule did not imply that there was impunity.  

The Compensation and Comprehensive Health-Care Programme (PRAIS) was a health-care programme for the victims of torture and ill-treatment between 1973 and 1990.  The Government was aware of its flaws and it had provided training for the staff in charge of it.  As for judicial compensation, Ms. Recabarren said that compensation had been granted in 46 criminal cases.

As for the trials of the Condor Plan cases, the investigation into enforced disappearances had finished and 59 State agents had been charged.  

The armed forces received cross-cutting general and specialized human rights education, Ms. Recabarren stated.  So far, some 800 public officials had been trained in human rights.  

The delegation stressed that anytime that case medical doctors were linked with torture and ill-treatment, they would be charged accordingly.  Turning to the appeal process for migrants and refugees, the delegation explained that the draft Aliens Act would extend the deadline for appeals.  

In 1990, Chile had stopped applying the Amnesty Decree Law no. 2191.  That law now only existed on paper.  Chile had been supporting the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture, and in 2018 it had made a symbolic contribution.  

The forensic service of Chile only responded to complaints when the judicial authorities asked it to do so.  It was developing a new training system with e-learning modules, and it had begun implementing the Minnesota Protocol on the Investigation of Potentially Unlawful Death.

Concluding Remarks

LORENA RECABARREN, Human Rights Undersecretary at the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights of Chile, said that the delegation was going back to Chile very satisfied, but also aware of pending challenges.  In Chile, there was a growing concern about the protection of vulnerable groups of society.  To meet human rights standards was a demanding task, which was why the Government would take seriously everything that the Committee against Torture would communicate to the authorities.  Chile would never tolerate torture or cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, and it would go beyond the standards set out in the Convention.  

JENS MODVIG, Committee Chairperson, reminded the delegation of the 48-hour deadline to submit additional replies in writing, and thanked the delegation for its constructive participation in the dialogue.

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