IACHR Concludes Visit of Joint Follow-Up Mechanism in Chile (MESECH)

March 27, 2024

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Washington, D.C. — The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and its Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression (RFOE) visited Chile from March 18 to 21, 2024, as part of the work of the Joint Follow-Up Mechanism in Chile (MESECH). The purpose of the visit was to follow up on the recommendations made in the Report on the Human Rights Situation in Chile, which was approved on January 24, 2022.

The delegation was led by Commissioner José Luis Caballero, Rapporteur for Chile. During the visit, the delegation met with authorities from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, the Ministry of the Interior and Public Security, the Ministry of the General Secretariat of Government, the Ministry of Health, the Supreme Court of Chile, the National Public Prosecutor's Office, the National Human Rights Institute, the Children's Ombud, the Advisory Commission against Disinformation, and the Human Rights Commissions of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. The delegation also met with representatives of victims of the social uprising in Chile and civil society organizations, as well as with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN Human Rights).

In these meetings with the authorities, human rights defenders, and civil society, the IACHR received valuable information on the progress made on the implementation of its recommendations, including measures regarding reparations for victims of the social uprising, investigations into human rights violations in this context, and the institutional approach to citizen security and the rights to social protest and assembly.

Based on the information it received, the IACHR emphasized the urgent need to make progress on identifying all victims of the social uprising and adopt comprehensive reparation measures. Likewise, the IACHR called on the State to adapt its response to the obligation to provide reparations to victims and to do so with a greater sense of urgency in cases of particular vulnerability, such as children and adolescents and people with eye trauma who require comprehensive assistance. The IACHR will follow up on all bills that address outstanding issues in the area of citizen security, particularly the use of force, the guarantee of the right to assembly and demonstration, and police reform. During the visit, the IACHR learned about the progress Chile has made in these areas in terms of police training and the regulation of the use of force in the control of public order.

In response to recommendation 48 of the Report on the Human Rights Situation in Chile, the RFOE took part in the visit to monitor and gather information on the right to freedom of expression in Chile. It held meetings with State authorities, civil society, journalists, victims and their families, the media, and independent organizations. The RFOE appreciates the willingness of the Chilean authorities to engage in dialogue, provide information, and follow up on the IACHR's recommendations. It also gathered information on challenges related to access to information, protection of the work of journalists and media outlets, the needs of community media, and challenges related to access to justice in cases of violence against the press. The RFOE learned about the concerns of civil society organizations regarding judicial processes and received valuable input on key issues in the fight against discrimination against historically vulnerable groups.

The RFOE acknowledged that the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding in the Estrella de Mar Melinka case was of particular symbolic importance. The case showed that local and international civil society is organized and active and that the State willing to cooperate in order to make progress on IACHR recommendations in the pursuit of a pluralistic society in which community media outlets play an important role.

The main purpose of MESECH's work plan is to implement actions to follow up on the recommendations made by the IACHR in its Report on the Human Rights Situation in Chile. In 2024, based on the information gathered during the visit and provided by the State, independent institutions, and civil society organizations on the measures taken by the State to comply with the IACHR's recommendations, MESECH will continue to draft its first follow-up report to discuss progress and challenges in the implementation of these recommendations.

In parallel with the MESECH visit, the IACHR participated in the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding for case 12.799, Radio Estrella de Mar Melinka, and the signing of the Compliance Agreement for case 12.469, Margarita Barbería Miranda, and the Friendly Settlement Agreement for case 13.533, Juan Isaías Heredia Olivares and Family.

The IACHR was grateful to the State of Chile for its willingness to move forward with its human rights obligations and achieve full compliance with the recommendations of the 2022 Country Report. It also expressed its willingness to continue monitoring the implementation of these recommendations through MESECH, with the joint participation of the State, victims and their representatives, and civil society organizations. Finally, the IACHR appreciates the willingness of victims and civil society organizations to engage in dialogue.

The IACHR is a principal and autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), whose mandate stems from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has the mandate to promote the observance and defense of human rights in the region and acts as an advisory body to the OAS on the matter. The IACHR is made up of seven independent members who are elected by the OAS General Assembly in their personal capacity, and do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 064/24

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