Press Release

IACHR Conducts Visit to Chile on Friendly Settlements

February 9, 2018

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Washington, D.C.—The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), through its Executive Secretariat, carried out a visit to Chile on January 29, 2018, to facilitate negotiations in processes related to friendly settlement agreements.

During the visit, the Inter-American Commission attended a ceremony in which the Chilean State recognized its responsibility in the matter of Petition 687-11, involving Gabriela Blas and her daughter CBB. The event included the presence of the following authorities: the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Heraldo Muñoz; the Minister of Social Development, Marcos Barraza; the Minister of Women and Gender Equality, Claudia Pascual; the President of the Supreme Court, Haroldo Brito; the Deputy Secretary of Human Rights, Lorena Fries; the Deputy Director General of the Carabineros, Julio Pineda Peña; the Chilean National Ombudsman, Carlos Mora; and the Human Rights Director in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hernán Quezada Cabrera. The petitioners in the case were represented by Camila Maturana, of Chile’s Corporación Humanas, and Nancy Yañez, representatives of Gabriela Blas in the processing of the petition before the IACHR. Gabriela Blas, an Aymara indigenous woman, filed a complaint with the IACHR against Chile over violations of rights and guarantees recognized by the American Convention on Human Rights and the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women, also known as the Convention of Belem do Pará. She had been arrested, prosecuted, and sentenced to 12 years in prison after her son, who had been herding sheep in an isolated area of the altiplano in Chile’s Arica province, went missing and was later found dead. During a criminal proceeding brought against her for the loss and subsequent death of her son, Gabriela Blas lost custody of her daughter, who was turned over to another family in an international adoption process.

The IACHR believes that a State’s recognition of responsibility and apology are an important measure of reparation and imply a commitment to provide redress to the victim in the case and to ensure that the serious human rights violations do not happen again. The Commission also considers that the declaration made by the State marks a step forward in terms of bringing dignity to the victim for her suffering and the violations she experienced and expressing a willingness to keep taking decisive steps to implement the rest of the measures until full compliance is reached.

On another matter, the IACHR also held a meeting related to Case 12.904, Aymara Chusmiza Usmagama Community, to advance the process of negotiating a friendly settlement. During the meeting, the parties signed a friendly settlement agreement, the implementation of which will be overseen by the Commission. The IACHR takes this opportunity to congratulate the parties for their willingness to move the negotiations forward and together identify formulas that facilitate full reparation for the beneficiaries of the agreement.

The IACHR commends the Chilean State’s efforts to seek to resolve cases in the human rights system through the friendly settlement mechanism. It also recognizes the petitioners’ efforts to participate in finding a way to advance the process. The Commission would like to thank the Chilean State for its collaboration in organizing the visit and for the support of the Foreign Ministry in holding these events.

A principal, autonomous body of the OAS, the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote the respect for and defense of human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 024/18