Press Release

IACHR announces the publication of Report on Petition Gabriela Blas Blas and her daughter C.B.B., Chile

December 13, 2018

   Contact info

IACHR Press and Communication Office
Tel: +1 (202) 370-9000
[email protected]

   More on the IACHR
A+ A-

Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) announces that on November 21, 2018 the Report No. 138/18, Petition 687-11, Gabriela Blas Blas and her daughter CBB, Chile was published and welcomes the progress made by the Chilean State in implementing the agreed reparation measures.*

On May 15, 2011, the IACHR received a petition denouncing the international responsibility of the Chilean State for violations of the rights of Gabriela Blas and her daughter CBB, both members of the indigenous Aymara community, who resided in the area of the border with Peru. The petitioners alleged that Gabriela Blas had been sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment for the murder of her 3-year-old son, based on a confession obtained under torture. The boy got lost in the mountains while he and Gabriela did pastoral activities. In denouncing her disappearance to the authorities, Gabriela Blas was tortured by Carabineros de Chile [Chilean police] with the direct application of bright light in her eyes, deprivation of food and water, putting a cable around her neck and threatening her with electric shocks. She was also deprived of her liberty and subjected to solitary confinement in a cell for five months and in general held in preventive detention for three years. Product of the criminal process violating her rights, Gabriela lost custody of her daughter C.B.B. who was given for international adoption in an unknown country through an irregular process.

On 11 June 2016, the parties entered into a friendly settlement agreement in the framework of a working meeting facilitated by the Commission. On March 20, 2017, the parties signed an addendum to the friendly settlement agreement at a working meeting held with the IACHR. In addition, throughout the friendly settlement process, the parties held four working meetings with the Commission's facilitation. The friendly settlement agreement contains the following clauses:

I. Conduct of a public act of recognition of state responsibility for the serious violations of the human rights of Ms. Gabriela Blas Blas, defined jointly with the petitioner.
II. Elimination of criminal records Gabriela Blas Blas.
III. Granting of a Lifetime Grace for Gabriela Blas Blas up to the amount equivalent to two monthly minimum incomes, expressly stating that its granting does not constitute incompatibility to opt and / or receive any other benefit or benefit financed by public funds and to carry out any activity remunerated
IV. Granting of property for Gabriela Blas Blas in the city of Arica, whose location and characteristics are appropriate to her needs, for which it should consult Gabriela Blas Blas about her preferences.
V.  Incorporate in the process of adoption of the girl C.B.B. the background information on the processing of the petition before the Commission, as well as post-adoptive information on the girl and take steps to facilitate the reestablishment of the bond with Ms. Gabriela Blas Blas and her family.
VI. Develop a training and national coverage program for members of the Judicial Branch, Public Ministry, Public Criminal Defender, Judicial Assistance Corporation, Chilean Carabineros, Investigation Police, Chilean Gendarmerie and National Children's Service, on Human Rights of Indigenous Women and Access to Justice.
VII. Establish a working group coordinated by the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights to develop a proposal for the formulation of indications to the Draft Law amending the current Law No. 19,620, which establishes rules on adoption of minors, in order to incorporate the principle of inter-culturalism in the processes of adoption.

The Inter-American Commission closely followed the development of the friendly settlement reached in this case and highly appreciates the efforts made by both parties during the negotiation of the agreement to reach a friendly settlement that was compatible with the object and purpose of the Convention.

In the Report, the IACHR stated that the points related to the act of recognition of responsibility, the pension for life, the delivery of housing, and access to the adoption file and adaptation information of the girl in the receiving country, established in points (1), (3) and (4) and (5) (a), (c) and (d) respectively, were fully complied with. In addition, it stated that the clauses of the agreement related to the removal of Gabriela Blas's criminal record, the inclusion of the homologation report in the adoption file, and the guarantees of non-repetition, measures contained in letters b) and e) of point 5 and point 6 of the agreement, respectively, were partially complied with, and stated that it would continue to monitor its implementation.

It should be noted that in this case, the Commission noted that the criminal record elimination measure established in this friendly settlement agreement is an emblematic measure and has had a structural impact by allowing the removal of criminal records from other victims of human rights violations based on the decisions of the organs of the inter-American human rights system, including friendly settlements.

The Commission welcomes the efforts made by the Chilean State to seek the resolution of cases before the system through the friendly settlement mechanism and to construct a public policy for the resolution of disputes through the alternative route, and at the same time urges it to continue to deploy actions to resume and promote negotiations with the facilitation of the IACHR, as well as the fulfillment of the measures agreed in friendly settlement agreements. On the other hand, the Commission emphasizes and acknowledges the tireless struggle of Mrs. Gabriela Blas and the petitioners in this constant effort to redress their rights.

For more information on the friendly settlement procedure, visit this link.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (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 respect for and to defend 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.

* On December 13, 2018, this press release was published with an incorrect Report Number. On December 14, 2018, it was changed to reflect the correct number.

No. 264/18