CIVICUS

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Chile

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Last updated on 25.03.2019 at 15:14

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Massive protests over the killing of young indigenous man Camilo Catrillanca

Massive protests over the killing of young indigenous man Camilo Catrillanca

On 15th November 2018, thousands mobilised in towns and cities in Chile to condemn the assassination of young indigenous man, Camilo Catrillanca by the specialised police unit, known as Comando Jungla (Jungle Command).

Association

In November 2018, Carolina Zumarán Robles, trade union leader reported she received death threats, allegedly related to complaints she made in relation to non-payment of salaries and gender discrimination. Several trade unions supported Zumaran and mobilised to demand for a thorough investigation. 

Peaceful Assembly

On 15th November 2018, thousands mobilised in towns and cities in Chile to condemn the assassination of a young indigenous man, Camilo Catrillanca allegedly by the specialised police unit, known as Comando Jungla (Jungle Command). Reports indicate that on 14th November 2018, a police operation was carried out in the community of Temucuicui, in order to search for individuals who had stolen three vehicles. As part of this police operation, Camilo Catrillanca, was shot dead in the head. 

Massive demonstrations took place in Santiago and other cities, demanding the resignation of Interior Minister Andrés Chadwick and the dismantling of the Comando Jungla police unit. Reports indicate that at least 20 protests have taken place in the Araucanía and Bío Bío regions in southern Chile. The Chilean police responded to the protests with repression, and several demonstrators were arrested as a result. 

Association in Chile

The right to form organisations is largely respected in Chile. Legislation enacted in 2013 introduced a simple registration system that is applied in a non-discriminatory manner.

The right to form organisations is largely respected in Chile. Legislation enacted in 2013 introduced a simple registration system that is applied in a non-discriminatory manner. The government does not exercise any powers to arbitrarily deny registration, deregister, or interfere with CSOs. Harassment, intimidation and attacks on human rights defenders are infrequent. When such attacks do occur, they tend to target indigenous leaders. For example, human rights defender and indigenous leader Juana Calfunao was the victim of judicial harassment and in 2015 she was arbitrarily arrested and beaten by the police while protesting against the construction of a road in the Mapuche community's ancestral lands.


Peaceful Assembly in Chile

Although demonstrations in Chile are generally allowed in practice, legislation governing public gatherings does not comply with international standards.

Although demonstrations in Chile are generally allowed in practice, legislation governing public gatherings does not comply with international standards. The Supreme Decree 1086, originally issued by military dictator Augusto Pinochet, imposes strict authorisation requirements and gives powers to the police to dissolve or impede protests in cases of late notification. The relevant authority may also deny protests in spaces that could disrupt public transit. In practice, protests are frequently subject to time and place limitations. Protests are often peaceful, but reports indicate that agents provocateurs frequently disrupt protests, causing violence and destruction of property. Documentation of the disproportionate use of force by the police against peaceful protesters highlights that indigenous protests in southern Chile are especially targeted. For instance, in September 2015, the police used excessive force to disperse Mapuche community activists peacefully occupying a government building in the city of Temuco.


Expression in Chile

Limits to free expression in Chile stem from media ownership by a small group as a result of legislation enacted during the military regime.

Limits to free expression in Chile stem from media ownership by a small group as a result of legislation enacted during the military regime. This lack of diversity has reduced the space for independent media in the country.Chile adopted an Access to Information Law in 2008, and rates of response to information requests are generally satisfactory. Although violence against journalists is rare in Chile, topics such as human rights violations committed during the dictatorship remain extremely sensitive. For example, a journalist investigating such issues was threatened, harassed and robbed in 2012. Criminal defamation is still in place and recently a court in Santiago convicted the directors of the newspaper El Ciudadano to 540 days of incarceration for the crime of aggravated defamation.