EVENTS SUBSEQUENT TO OUR MISSION
Some of the recommendations in the preceding chapter of this report may no longer be current or may now be unnecessary.
It is true that, as soon as the Government of Chile received our note of July 29, which it replied to on August 2, there was news in the press during the months of August and September that some steps had been taken to correct certain excesses and to restore the general situation to normal in some degree.
Thus, it was announced that some members of the police had been discharged and even indicted because it had been found that they had participated in acts of torture against detained persons, thus confirming the truth of the denunciations regarding one of the types of attack against human rights, which were most frequently submitted to the Commission. It was also announced that some minors had been released or transferred to special re-education establishments. It was said that one of the former prisoners on Dawson Island, Mr. Orlando Letelier, had been released, although apparently under a decree of expulsion from the country. It was reported that in some cases, prisoners against whom no charges had been brought have been permitted to choose exile. The news was widely reported that the Government was prepared to permit exit from the country of a large number of prisoners, although some sources of information tied in the scope of that decision to similar measures that might be adopted by the Soviet Union or by Cuba. According to information received from the Government of Chile, the state of internal war was abolished by Decree-Law 641 of September 11, 1974, and it was replaced in the interior with the state of siege, which entered into force on September 11, 1973, and was subsequently extended. The cessation of the state of war apparently did not involve cessation of the activities or the proceedings of the War Councils.
Similarly, other negative news has been reported, such as a declaration attributed to the President of the Junta to the effect that it would not be possible to re-establish suffrage until a new generation, educated in the principles that the Junta considers more elevated and desirable for the country, has replaced the present young generation. If this news is correct, it would reveal the intent to disregard for many years the political rights of the Chilean people and hence, the provision of Article XX of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man.
Since the Commission does not have official and unequivocal information on all of these events, it cannot reasonably rely on the reports. It records them here with all appropriate reservations, despite the fact that it was not able to take them into consideration in drawing up its conclusions and recommendations, so that there may be no doubt that the Commission wishes to maintain the hope that the new acts of the Chilean Government will mean a full restoration of the rights that have been violated.
The following note dated October 22, 1974 has been received from the Government of Chile:
Republic of Chile RE. (DIROREA) ORD. Nº 18118
Ministry of Foreign Affairs PURPOSE. Submit report
Bureau of International Agencies REF. Note of July 29, 1974, of the
Inter-American Commission on
Santiago, October 22, 1974
From the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
To Mr. Justino Jiménez de Aréchaga, Chairman of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
By note of July 29, 1974, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights suggested that the Government of Chile take a number of measures to—as it stated—contribute to the protection of basic rights and freedoms.
On August 2, I answered that note reporting that I was not replying to points 1, 7, 8, and 10, which referred to measures that might be adopted by other Ministries, and added that on that date I was sending a copy of your note to the appropriate Ministries.
Having received a reply from those Ministries, I will now respond to those points.
Point 1. The information referred to is provided immediately to those requesting it. In exceptional cases, for reasons of security or because of the need to obtain information that might be needed for the success of an investigation, it is desirable to maintain some information secret for a brief time, which is done at the exclusive decision of the investigating authority under the legal powers it has by virtue of its office. Withholding information might also be necessary for the security of the detained person, which, as in the preceding case, is also by decision of the same authority.
In cases of detentions resulting from indictments filed before competent courts, the procedural rules in force are fully complied with and in the case of detentions by virtue of the constitutional authority deriving from the state of siege, this Ministry proceeds to issue the appropriate decree immediately.
The above procedures are also applied in the case of transfer of persons, at which time any information requested is immediately provided.
Point 7. Persons wishing to leave the territory of the country have been given every opportunity to do so by the Government—of course this does not apply with respect to persons whose activities must be investigated in order to determine whether there is any criminal responsibility under the law.
Point 8. The Government feels that there is no reason or necessity of any kind to amend existing legislation regarding the remedy of amparo, since this falls under provisions in effect prior to September 11, 1973, and such remedies are decided upon by the Judiciary, a completely independent branch of the authorities that has never questioned the behavior of the authorities.
Point 10. The means for providing the information referred to in this point have been the special concern of the Ministry of the Interior. Such means are in existence, and their operation is fully satisfactory. If in some cases information cannot be provided it is because the persons involved are not in detention and their whereabouts are unknown.
Moreover, I must inform the Commission regarding several events that occurred last September, which have fundamentally changed the situation existing prior to that time.
First of al, Decree-Law 641 dated September 11, 1974, abolished the internal state of war, and leaving in the interior of the country the state of siege that was in effect from September 11, 1973 and which was subsequently extended.
Moreover, with regard to those detained under the law of a state of siege and some persons sentenced for crimes described in Law 12927 on internal security of the State and Law 17928 on control of weapons, the Government of Chile, through the Supreme Chief of the Nation, expressed its willingness to allow them to leave the national territory, and invited the Governments of the USSR and of Cuba to do the same with respect to the political prisoners who have remained in detention for a long time for the sole crime of not being in agreement with the dictatorial regimes governing them.
Having fully solved the problem of refugees and persons in asylum, the Government of Chile is continuing to work on safeguarding the freedom of all of the inhabitants of the country and faithfully respects basic rights, even going beyond its commitments under existing conventions or pacts, as can be seen from the information set forth in the preceding paragraph.
I take this opportunity to repeat, Mr. Chairman, the expressions of my highest consideration.
Patricio Carvajal Prado
Minister of Foreign Affairs
The Commission has already had occasion, in this report, to analyze and establish its position on the matters referred to in this note.