Chile only country in South America to be upgraded in global ratings report on civic freedoms16 March, 2023
- Chile upgraded from ‘obstructed’ to ‘narrowed’
- Positive developments include commitments to protect human rights defenders and journalists
- Concerns remain about impunity for excessive use of force during protests and lack of police reform
Chile has been upgraded from ‘obstructed’ to ‘narrowed’ in a new report by the CIVICUS Monitor, a global research collaboration that rates and tracks fundamental freedoms in 197 countries and territories. Chile is one of ten countries to improve its rating in 2022 - 15 other countries have been downgraded.
According to the report, People Power Under Attack 2022, initiatives to provide reparation for human rights abuses and to establish a framework to protect human rights defenders (HRDs) and journalists led to Chile’s upgrade.
‘Narrowed’ is the second-best rating a country can receive by the CIVICUS Monitor. In reality, it means that people in Chile are allowed to exercise civic freedoms, including the freedoms of association, peaceful assembly and expression, but occasionally violations of these rights take place.
The CIVICUS Monitor is encouraged by Chilean lawmakers' efforts to promote a protection system for journalists and by the country’s ratification of the Escazú Agreement, which contains important provisions to improve environmental defenders’ safeguarding and access to justice. Authorities in government and in Congress have expressed their commitment to creating a more enabling framework for the work of the press and civil society in the country.
The government of President Gabriel Boric has also unequivocally recognised the importance of demands arising from Chile’s social uprising. While the country’s justice system has been slow to provide accountability and justice for abuses perpetrated by state security in the brutal repression of protests, the government has taken clear steps to do so. Government authorities have presented an agenda to promote truth, justice and reparation, which includes actions to provide assistance, rehabilitation and reintegration for over 400 victims of eye trauma.
In recent months, civil society groups in Chile have been able to celebrate important victories that include the adoption of legislation legalising same-sex marriage and the rejection of an extractive project that would have affected one of the country’s most delicate ecosystems.
However, the CIVICUS Monitor remains concerned about the impunity for the use of excessive force against protesters and the lack of meaningful police reform to prevent the recurrence of this violation. The south of the country also saw continued unrest and militarisation, with the government failing to advance in solutions to longstanding conflict with the Mapuche people.
In September 2022, Chile’s voters rejected the proposal for a new constitution drafted by a Constitutional Assembly convened on the heels of the 2019 uprising. For months, this left the country in uncertainty over how - or whether - the important drive toward constitutional change would continue. Following months of negotiation, in January 2023 lawmakers agreed on a new roadmap for drafting a new constitution.
Over twenty organisations collaborate on the CIVICUS Monitor, providing evidence and research that help us target countries where civic freedoms are at risk. The Monitor has posted more than 490 civic space updates in the last year, which are analysed in People Power Under Attack 2022.
Civic freedoms in 197 countries and territories are categorised as either closed, repressed, obstructed, narrowed or open, based on a methodology that combines several sources of data on the freedoms of association, peaceful assembly and expression.
Chile is now rated ‘narrowed’ on the CIVICUS Monitor. 41 other countries have this rating ( see all). Visit Chile’s homepage on the CIVICUS Monitor for more information and check back regularly for the latest updates.
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact: