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Human Rights Commissioner Kofler on the OHCHR’s report on Chile

18.12.2019 - Press release

Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Assistance at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (18 December) on the report by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, on the many severe human rights violations during unrest in Chile:

The report now submitted by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) confirms that violence against peaceful demonstrators on the part of the police and military has often been totally disproportionate and without cause. I condemn mistreatment in prison, mock executions and sexual violence, which is targeted in particular against women, girls and members of the LGBTI community, in the strongest possible terms.

I call on those in positions of responsibility to vigorously prosecute all human rights violations and crimes committed and to bring the perpetrators to justice. The Chilean state must now, as a matter of urgency, show determination in its investigations as well as undertake tangible steps to avoid a renewed escalation of the violence. Initial important steps were taken with the transparency and cooperation shown towards the UN mission. I call on the Chilean Government to comply with the High Commissioner’s reform recommendations. Germany is also prepared to offer Chile its support if and when this is desired.

I expressly support the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ calls to bring together stakeholders from civil society and academia, as well as government representatives and the private sector in order to get to the bottom of the structural causes of the protests. I call on the Chilean Government to involve all sectors of society, including the indigenous peoples of Chile, in the drafting of the new constitution.

Background information:

The mission seconded to Chile by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, to investigate the allegations against the security forces during recent unrest submitted its report on 13 December. The UN experts have confirmed what eye witness reports, photos and video footage have shown the world for weeks, namely that there have been numerous, at times large-scale, attacks and serious human rights violations, including torture. There have been deaths and injuries and many people have suffered life-changing consequences such as blindness in one eye.

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