University of Minnesota

Inter-Am. C.H.R., OEA/Ser.L/V/II.37, Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Chile, Doc. 19 corr. 1 (1976).





If we compare the results obtained from our observation in loco, carried out in 1974, with the information that we have been able to gather together to prepare this report, we believe that we can formulate the following final conclusions:

1. In the period under examination, there has been a quantitative reduction in the infringement of certain fundamental human rights. That is, a reduced frequency of arbitrary arrests, a shortening, even though not general, of the duration of deprivations of liberty without due process and in restrictions on the use of exceptional, wartime jurisdiction and procedures.

2. Legal provisions which—as is expressed in the preambles—are intended to prevent the infringement of those rights, as well as to end the application of illegitimate pressures and to prevent the disappearance of detained persons—we refer to provisions such as Decree-law 1009, Article 11—have not produced appreciable beneficial effects. For such a reason, the Government of Chile considered it necessary to issue the recent Supreme Decree 187, which, if rigorously applied in its letter and spirit, could reduce the disappearance of detained persons, eliminate the application of inhumane treatment, torture and other pressures, as well as reduce considerably the number of irregular detentions.

3. The situation appears different when we examine the problem of the effective application of other rights recognized by the American Declaration, which are related directly to the normal activities of civilian life in a community developed according to democratic principles. The maintenance in full force of standards that totally prohibit the activity of political parties, the substantial restrictions which, notwithstanding the liberalization that has taken place, continue to threaten liberty of expression of thought, as well as those restrictions that weigh down upon the rights of association and assembly, and all of this combined with the ineffective functioning of the entities that should control the legal regularity and juridical activity of the State, and the delay in adoption of effective and concrete measures which, directly and unequivocally will lead to the reestablishment, within a reasonably brief period, of the right of suffrage and participation of the people in government (Article XX of the American Declaration), are all factors which contribute to maintaining a state of collective spirit that works contrary to the full restoration of human rights.

This report was approved in the 169th meeting, by the following members of the Commission:

Andrés Aguilar, Chairman

Carlos A. Dunshee de Abranches, Vice Chairman

Justino Jiménez de Aréchaga

Robert F. Woodward

Genaro R. Carrió

Professor Manuel Bianchi, member of the Commission, presented a reservation which was added to the formal record of the meeting.

Dr. Gabino Fraga did not attend the special session in which this report was approved, because of illness.


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