University of Minnesota

Inter-Am. C.H.R., OEA/Ser.L/V/II.40, Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Chile, Doc. 10 (1977).





American Declaration: Article XX. Every person having legal capacity is entitled to participate in the government of his country, directly or through his representatives, and to take part in popular elections, which shall be by secret ballot, and shall be honest, periodic and free.

Article XXII. Every person has the right to associate with others to promote, exercise and protect his legitimate interests of a political, economic, religious, social, cultural, professional, labor union or other nature.

1. In a note dated November 30, 1976, the Commission requested the Government of Chile to provide, inter alia, the following information:

1. Legal texts concerning the Council of State and any other information that would more precisely explain its membership and powers.

2. Are Decree-Laws 77 and 78 still in effect?

3. Subsequent to March 12, 1976, the date of the Second Report of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on the situation of human rights in Chile, have any concrete steps been taken to allow the Chilean people once again to exercise the suffrage and participate in the government, as provided for in Article XX of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man? If so, we request that a copy of the pertinent provisions be forwarded to the Commission.

2. In its note dated January 27, 1977, the Government of Chile replied to this questionnaire as reported in the following paragraphs.

3. In connection with point 1 of the questionnaire, it sent photocopies of the legal and regulatory texts referring to the Council of State,1 but provided no information on the activities of this body since its creation by means of Constitutional Act Nº 1 of December 31, 1975. It should be noted that Decree-Law 1031 published in the Diario Oficial of June 3, 1976, made the appointments and provisions necessary for the proper functioning of the Council.

4. In regard to point 2, which refers to Decree-Laws 77 and 78, the Government of Chile makes the following reply:

Both decree-laws are fully in effect.1

5. In response to question Nº 3, the Government replied as follows:

In this regard, it should be noted that one of the essential aims of the Honorable Junta de Gobierno is to provide the country with a new institutional structure. Since this work has not yet been completed, the fate of the national reconstruction—which has cost the citizenry enormous effort, and which was the only way of bringing order and legality back into our national life—would be handed over to the demagoguery of the political parties, if the suspension of political rights were to be ended.

6. The response of the Government of Chile to these questions reveals that the situation in regard to human rights remains substantially the same as it was at the time we wrote our first report. In summation, during the period covered by this report, no steps have been taken to restore the rights set forth in Articles XX and XXII of the American Declaration, which serve as the title to this part of our report.



1 See Chapter I of this report.

1 Decree-Law 77 declares that the following parties are illegal and are dissolved: the Communist, Socialist, Popular Socialist Union, Movement for United Popular Action, Radical, Christian Left, Independent Popular Action, and all entities, groups, factions and movements that uphold Marxist doctrines, or that in their aims or through the conduct of their supporters are in essential agreement with the principles and objectives of this doctrine and that aim to destroy or discredit the fundamental purposes and tenets embodied in the Act of Constitution of this Junta. Decree-Law 78 declares all political parties, entities, groups, etc. that are not covered by Decree-Law 77 to be in recess.


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