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TITLE:  CHILE HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1993                             
DATE:  JANUARY 31, 1994
AUTHOR:  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE

                           CHILE


Chilean democracy follows a Constitution written under the 
former military government and approved by referendum in 1980, 
which places limits on popular rule.  Chile held its second 
presidential and parliamentary elections under this 
Constitution on December 11, and Eduardo Frei will assume the 
presidency on March 11, 1994.  Congress approved an amendment 
to the Constitution to limit presidential terms to 6 years-- 
the period he is expected to serve.  The Congress is comprised 
of 120 Deputies and 18 Senators elected in December 1993, 20 
Senators elected in 1989, and 8 Senators appointed in 1990.  
While the governing coalition again won a majority in the 
Chamber of Deputies, the eight senators appointed in 1990 by 
the former military government for 8-year terms continue to 
deprive the Government of a majority in the Senate.  The 
constitutionally independent judicial branch remained largely 
dominated by appointees of the former military regime.

The Constitution requires the armed forces to be subordinate to 
the President, with the Minister of Defense, a civilian 
appointed by the President, responsible for oversight of the 
military.  In practice the armed forces remain largely 
autonomous institutions, and the civilian Government lacks 
independent authority to remove their commanders.  The army 
deployed a small number of troops around its headquarters in 
Santiago on May 28, and its officers appeared in combat dress 
for several days to express displeasure with civilian 
authorities over several issues, including judicial processing 
of past human rights violations.  General Pinochet, the 
78-year-old leader and only member of the 1973 military junta 
still on active duty, remains as Commander in Chief of the 
army, a position he may by law hold until March 1998.

The Carabineros, Chile's uniformed national police, have 
primary responsibility for public order and safety, crime 
control, and border security.  The Investigations Police are 
responsible for controlling and investigating serious crime.  
Both police organizations, although formally under the 
administrative jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defense, fall 
under the operational control of the Ministry of Interior.  
Elements of the police forces were again responsible for human 
rights abuses.  The Government asked for independent judicial 
investigations when police were accused of human rights 
violations, including the use of excessive force to control 
violent demonstrations and of torture to extract confessions.


Chile's free market economy enjoyed its tenth consecutive year 
of expansion in 1993.  Economic growth, though slowed by lower 
world prices for Chile's principal exports, was estimated at 
over 5 percent.  Unemployment remained less than 5 percent, 
near 20-year lows, while inflation was 12 percent, slightly 
less than the rate in 1992.  Copper remains Chile's most 
important source of foreign exchange, followed by fresh fruit 
and fish meal. 

Four years after the transition to democracy, the principal 
human rights issues still involved redress for human rights 
abuses that occurred during the former military government's 
rule.  Efforts to redress the abuses were shaped by often 
conflicting requirements for justice and national 
reconciliation.  The Supreme Court has been reluctant to 
confront the military over human rights, and one justice was 
impeached by Congress and removed from office for "gross 
neglect of duties" for his handling of a human rights case.  
Another Supreme Court justice sentenced commanders of the 
former National Intelligence Directorate (DINA) as intellectual 
authors of the 1976 assassination in Washington, DC, of Orlando 
Letelier and Ronni Moffitt.  Disputes continue over the 
interpretation of the 1978 amnesty law and prosecution of 
military personnel and their collaborators for abuses not 
covered by the amnesty.  Other human rights abuses include 
torture and excessive use of force by the police, arbitrary 
arrests, instances of prior restraint of the press, 
discrimination against ethnic minorities and indigenous people, 
and violence against women and children.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

The Government was not responsible for political killings in 
1993.  In an important step toward ending the impunity of 
military officers involved in the Letelier case, Adolfo 
Banados, a Supreme Court justice appointed by the current 
Aylwin Government, sentenced retired General Manuel Contreras 
and Colonel Pedro Espinoza to 7- and 6-year prison terms, 
respectively, as intellectual authors of the 1976 murder in 
Washington, DC, of former Chilean Foreign Minister Orlando 
Letelier and his American assistant Ronni Moffitt.  The Supreme 
Court is expected to rule early in 1994 on appeals of the 
sentences by all parties.  This is the only case involving the 
now dissolved DINA--the Pinochet-era secret police--that the 
1978 amnesty law specifically excluded.

Chilean police were responsible for some extrajudicial killings.
In January Juan Acevedo, a 23-year-old forestry professional 
died in the southern port city of Constitucion after 
interrogation by the Investigations Police.  A local judge 
found evidence of torture, and the Supreme Court appointed a 
special judge to continue the investigation.  In February Luis 
Alberto Caniulaf died after being arrested by Carabineros for 
rape.  The investigating judge ordered the arrest of three 
civilians and four Carabineros who were family members of the 
victim.  The Carabineros were subsequently discharged from the 
police force.  Both cases remained active in the courts at the 
end of the year.

Police were also responsible for two deaths when demonstrations 
in Santiago sponsored by leftist and human rights groups on 
September 11, the 20th anniversary of the 1973 coup, turned 
violent.  Demonstrators threw rocks at police, erected 
barricades, overturned cars, and set fires.  When police 
responded, a 66-year-old government worker died when he was run 
over by a police vehicle carrying a water cannon, and Jose 
Araya Ortiz, an 18-year-old member of the Communist Youth, died 
of gunshot wounds probably the result of Carabinero fire.  At 
the Government's request, the Supreme Court appointed Appeals 
Court Judge Humberto Espejo to investigate the incidents, but 
at year's end his report had not been made public.

Two terrorist groups, the dissident wing of the Manuel Rodriguez
Patriotic Front (FPMR/D) and the Lautaro Youth Movement, were 
responsible for most political violence.  Police made important 
arrests among the top leaders of these organizations in 1993, 
but terrorists continued to conduct violent, well-armed 
operations.  Chilean terrorists killed one policeman and one 
maintenance worker, and according to press reports six 
terrorists died in confrontations with the police through 
December 1.  On March 25, the Investigations Police captured 
Lautaro's number two leader, Delfin Diaz, who reportedly 
masterminded a 1992 attack on the police.  On August 5, 
Investigations Police captured Mauricio Hernandez Norambuena, 
number two leader of the FPMR/D, who was accused of 
participating in the April 1991 murder of Senator Jaime Guzman 
and three attacks on American government representatives in 
Chile.


The former military government enacted an amnesty law in 1978, 
the prime beneficiaries of which were those responsible for 
human rights abuses committed during the first 5 years of the 
military government's rule.  The Aylwin administration 
interpreted the amnesty law to mean that the courts should 
first determine the authors of human rights abuses before 
applying the amnesty.  Legal reforms in 1991 remanded most 
human rights cases from military to civilian jurisdiction.  
However, when the investigation showed that a crime was 
committed on a military base or military personnel were accused 
of the crime, military tribunals reclaimed jurisdiction, and 
the military courts applied the amnesty law to close the cases 
without determining the facts or criminal responsibility.  
These decisions led critics to charge that Chile's Supreme 
Court impeded justice for victims of human rights abuses 
committed by the military forces.

For example, the extradition of Osvaldo Romo Mena, who fled to 
Brazil in 1975, was sought by Appeals Court Judge Gloria 
Olivares to testify about the 1974 disappearance of Movement of 
the Revolutionary Left (MIR) leader Alfonso Chanfreau, in whose 
apprehension Romo allegedly participated.  The Brazilian 
Government expelled Romo to Chile in November 1992, but before 
he could testify, a chamber of the Supreme Court, with Justice 
Hernan Cereceda presiding, granted the military courts 
jurisdiction over the investigation.  The military court closed 
the case (and later reopened it to apply the amnesty).  In 
response, the Chamber of Deputies voted along strict party 
lines to impeach the three Supreme Court justices and the 
Auditor General of the army who voted to transfer the Chanfreau 
case to military tribunals.  The Deputies found that they had 
committed a "gross neglect of duties" for having applied 
procedural technicalities in the Chanfreau case and ignoring 
constitutional reforms intended to give the tenets of the 
American Convention on Human Rights precedence over domestic 
law.  The opposition-controlled Senate was expected to reject 
the charges, but on January 25 three opposition National 
Renewal Senators joined the governing coalition to vote on one 
count to remove Cereceda, the second-ranking member of the 
Supreme Court, from office.

Criticism of the Supreme Court's handling of human rights 
issues continued.  The Court failed to reverse a military 
appeals court ruling against a serious injury finding by a 
lower court in the case involving Carmen Gloria Quintana, who 
was seriously burned in a confrontation with a military patrol 
in 1986, and Rodrigo Rojas, who died of burns.  This case was 
the first in which a military court had ruled in favor of human 
rights victims, and human rights groups pointed to considerable 
evidence demonstrating the responsibility of military personnel 
in the crime.

The Supreme Court also unanimously rejected a request from the 
Chamber of Deputies to assist the Argentine judge investigating 
the 1976 murder of former Army Commander General Carlos Prats 
and initially, by a narrow majority, refused the Foreign 
Ministry's request that it appoint a member of the Supreme 
Court to investigate the 1976 death of Carmelo Soria, a Spanish 
citizen employed by the United Nations.  Soria's death in 1976 
was attributed to a traffic accident, but Michael Townley, a 
key witness in the Letelier case, admitted that Soria had been 
tortured and killed at Townley's home.  In 1991 the Foreign 
Ministry requested that the case be reopened, and the Supreme 
Court appointed Appeals Court Judge Violeta Guzman to 
investigate.  She found evidence that two active duty colonels 
and four other former army officials who worked in the DINA had 
participated in Soria's murder.  When she called them to 
testify as possible suspects, the military courts requested 
jurisdiction over the investigation, and on November 18 the 
third chamber of the Supreme Court granted jurisdiction to 
military courts.

The Spanish Government informed Chile that the case had 
affected relations between the two countries, and recalled its 
ambassador in December.  The Foreign Ministry asked the courts 
to use procedures envisioned in the 1991 judicial reforms to 
have a Supreme Court justice investigate the crime.  On 
December 2, by a narrow majority, the Supreme Court rejected 
the Government's request on the basis that relations with Spain 
would not be affected.  The case led some on the left to 
explore the possibility of impeaching some or all of the 
Supreme Court justices who voted against the Government's 
request.  The Government submitted more evidence of the damage 
the case had caused its relations with Spain, and the Supreme 
Court reversed its decision, voting 10 to 2 to appoint 1 of its 
members to investigate the case.  Since the 1978 amnesty would 
apply to the case, it is unlikely that those responsible for 
the Soria murder will be convicted or punished.

Special Judge Milton Juica on September 28 formally accused 
five former Carabineros and a civilian, Miguel Estay Reyno, of 
the 1985 throat slashing of three Communist Party leaders.  
Twelve other former Carabineros from the disbanded Directorate 
of Intelligence (Dicomcar) were accused of being accessories in 
the murder.  The Supreme Court dropped charges against former 
junta member and Carabinero Commander General Mendoza, saying 
he was not involved in the crime.

Little progress was made on resolving the 1982 murder of 
Tucapel Jimenez.  A chief suspect in the case, a former 
military officer, was in jail in Argentina pending extradition.
Retired army Major Alvaro Corbalan, the commander of an 
intelligence unit accused of murdering a carpenter to cover up 
the Jimenez murder, was under house arrest on a military base, 
and another accomplice was still in jail.  Corbalan is the only 
former military officer under detention in Chile.

The National Reparation and Conciliation Corporation began 
operating in 1992 to compensate families of human rights 
victims.  On September 30, 1993, it was paying pensions to 
4,600 family members of victims who died of human rights 
violations committed before 1990.  The Chilean State has paid 
$26.5 million to the victims' families, including college 
tuition for offspring up to the age of 35 who wish to study.  
Wives, children, and parents of victims are eligible for 
pensions, and the amount for each family member is more than 
double that paid under the old social security system.  The 
Corporation also continued the work of the Rettig Commission, 
investigating reports of human rights abuses where victims died.
The President, Alejandro Gonzalez, expects the Corporation to 
reach conclusions on deaths or disappearances of the more than 
3,200 victims by the time it finishes its work in 1994.

     b.  Disappearance

The Government was not responsible for disappearances during 
1993.  Disappearance cases from before 1978 cannot be closed 
and the alleged perpetrator amnestied until a court determines 
that the victim is dead.  Since the bodies of many of the 
disappeared have never been found, the cases were an ongoing 
irritant in civil-military (particularly civil-army) relations 
because judicial processes against officers--who would 
inevitably be covered by the amnesty--were both disruptive to 
army operations and embarrassing to the institution.  An Aylwin 
administration proposal to permit confidential testimony in 
order to close the cases expeditiously was not pursued owing to 
the concern of some members of the governing coalition that it 
would result in impunity for human rights violators.  It did 
not guarantee that civilian courts would undertake the 
investigations nor that the military would cooperate.


In 1993 a court convicted five FPMR/D militants of the 
September 1991 kidnaping of Cristian Edwards, son of the owner 
of Santiago's prestigious El Mercurio newspaper.  An FPMR 
leader captured in August is believed to be the intellectual 
author of the kidnaping, but police were not able to find any 
trace of the million-dollar ransom the family paid.

     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
         Treatment or Punishment

Although the "use of illegal pressure" is forbidden, there 
continued to be mistreatment and torture by some Carabinero and 
Investigations Police units in 1993.  The Defense Committee of 
the Peoples' Rights (CODEPU) had received 17 reports of torture 
or cruel treatment by Carabineros and 6 by the Investigations 
Police through November 15, and filed 25 complaints with the 
courts.  The abuses were mostly associated with interrogations, 
and included sleep, food, and water deprivation, threats, 
beatings, and forced standing for long periods of time.  
Allegations of the use of electrical shock were rare.

The Government, which includes many human rights leaders and 
victims in important positions, asked for independent judicial 
investigations of credible complaints.  Investigations of 
torture seldom resulted in arrests, in part because members of 
the judiciary, many of them appointed by the military regime, 
are reluctant to pursue the issue vigorously.

In one highly publicized case, a Brazilian woman, Tania Maria 
Cordeiro, was arrested and allegedly tortured after her boarder 
was detained for possession of arms used by members of the 
Lautaro Youth Movement in bank robberies.  The Brazilian consul 
tried for months to call the Government's attention to the case 
before her lawyer, a respected human rights defender, 
publicized the case in August.  Soon thereafter, the Supreme 
Court designated Appeals Court Judge Alejandro Solis to 
investigate the complaint.  In November he charged eight 
policemen with administrative violations for psychological 
pressure to extract a confession and for illegal detention of 
Cordeiro and her 13-year-old daughter, but he did not find 
proof of torture.

Chilean prisons are strapped for funds and antiquated, but 
conditions are not life threatening.  Food is provided to meet 
minimal nutritional needs, and prisoners may supplement their 
diet by buying food.  Those with sufficient funds can rent 
space in a better wing of the prison.  Although prison guards 
have been accused by some human rights groups of using 
excessive force to stop attempted prison breaks, the guards 
generally act professionally and do not mistreat prisoners.  
The Government permits monitoring of prison conditions, and the 
Minister of Justice who supervises the guards visits prisoners 
to hear their complaints.  The International Committee of the 
Red Cross, which formerly visited political prisoners, closed 
its office in Chile because it felt there was no longer a need 
for a full-time presence.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

The Constitution allows civilian and military courts to order 
detention for up to 5 days without arraignment and extend the 
detention for up to 10 days for suspected terrorist acts.  By 
law, detainees are to be provided 30 minutes of immediate and 
daily access to a lawyer (although not in private) and to a 
doctor to verify their physical condition.  The law does not 
permit a judge to deny such access.  With few exceptions, this 
practice appeared to be observed by police authorities.  It is 
quite common for the police to make "arrests for suspicion," 
particularly of youth in high-crime areas late at night.  The 
Chilean Human Rights Commission reported that many of those 
detained were never charged and were released after a few days.

There were no cases of forced exile in 1993, but some Chileans 
convicted of politically motivated crimes during the military 
regime agreed to go abroad as a condition of their release from 
jail.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

Although the Constitution calls for a judicial system 
independent of the other branches of government, the judiciary, 
and particularly the Supreme Court, is dominated by appointees 
of the former military regime.  Their rulings are often partial 
to the military and the police.  Ten of the 17 Supreme Court 
judges were appointed by General Pinochet, 7 of them after he 
lost the 1988 plebiscite.  The court system is widely 
criticized for being antiquated and inefficient.  Trial is not 
by jury.  Reliance is on the written record rather than oral 
testimony, and the judge renders a verdict after directing the 
investigation.  The investigative phase is considered secret, 
with limited access for the accused or his attorney to evidence 
or testimony which has been accumulated by the judge.  There is 
a well-developed, multistage appeal process leading ultimately 
to the Supreme Court.  This lengthy process results in very 
slow final decisions; it is not uncommon for cases to linger in 
the court system for several years.  In 1993, for example, the 
Supreme Court ruled in favor of heirs of the plaintiff in a 
case involving a 1967 land confiscation.

Under the military government, a broad interpretation of state 
security laws greatly expanded the jurisdiction of military 
courts over the prosecution of proscribed political activities.
A 1991 legal reform package (the "cumplido" laws) limited the 
jurisdiction of military tribunals and transferred most cases 
to the civilian courts.  The Auditor General of the army may 
sit as a visiting justice in Supreme Court chambers that hear 
cases involving army officials.

The court is often partial in decisions involving military 
personnel (see Section 1.a.).  For example, on May 28, after a 
delay of more than a year, the Supreme Court upheld a lower 
court's order to detain active duty army Lieutenant Colonel 
Fernando Laureani, who had been a DINA squad leader when two 
MIR members disappeared in 1974.  Laureani failed to appear in 
court and spent several months as a fugitive.  In July as 
President Aylwin was proposing a change in judicial procedures, 
the fourth chamber of the Supreme Court voted unanimously to 
grant a military court jurisdiction, confirming the precedent 
that the military will take jurisdiction if an active duty 
officer is indicted for a human rights violation covered by the 
amnesty.  The military court applied the amnesty to Laureani 
and closed the case.

President Aylwin commuted the sentences in 1993 of 11 persons 
convicted for politically motivated crimes committed during the 
military regime, including the only woman in that group.  Eight 
of the former prisoners were sent to live outside Chile for the 
remainder of their sentences as a condition of their release.  
At year's end, the number of persons remaining in jail charged 
with violating state security laws before March 11, 1990, had 
dropped to 10.  (There had been 335 when Aylwin took office.)  
Those prisoners suffered extended periods of pretrial detention 
and torture, and were colloquially known as "political 
prisoners."  However, they were involved in Chile's more 
notorious terrorist incidents such as the death of five 
bodyguards in the 1986 assassination attempt of then President 
Pinochet.  The judicial system has sentenced six of them, 
including three for the assassination attempt.  They applied 
for presidential pardons, and President Aylwin may commute 
their sentences as he has done in other cases.  For the first 
time, a beneficiary of an Aylwin pardon was rearrested in 1993 
for criminal activities committed after his release.


     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
         Correspondence

Searches of the home and interception of private communications 
are prohibited by the Constitution, unless either a civilian or 
military court issues a search warrant for specific locations.  
The 1984 antiterrorist law provides for surveillance of those 
suspected of terrorist crimes, and for the interception, 
opening, or recording of private communications and documents 
in such cases.

There were further developments in a 1992 political espionage 
case involving a cellular telephone conversation recorded and 
subsequently played on a national television program, 
destroying two candidates' presidential campaigns.  The army 
acknowledged that an army captain had "misused" its espionage 
equipment to record a private conversation and leak it to the 
media.  The Supreme Court ruled that the law on telephone 
intercepts only covered conversations carried on wire, not on 
cellular telephones, and ordered the defendants freed of all 
charges.  The military courts punished the army captain only 
for neglect of duty, but he was discharged from the army in 
November.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

The Constitution provides for freedom of speech and the press, 
and these rights are generally respected in practice.  The 
press generally maintains its independence and exercises 
responsible, professional judgment, including in its criticism 
of the Government.  Issues sensitive to the military, including 
human rights abuses, are widely covered in the media.  During 
1993, military courts heard no new cases against journalists, 
but several cases were still pending from prior years.  A 
military court confiscated one edition of a newspaper for 
reporting on the Soria case while a "gag order" was in effect, 
but it did not call the editors to court.  Several attempts by 
Congress to transfer jurisdiction in such cases from military 
to civilian courts were not successful.

Press debate focused on censorship on several occasions in 
1993.  In March the navy seized and prohibited circulation of a 
publication by a retired navy captain entitled "Ethics and the 
Intelligence Service."  In April a Santiago court of appeals 
prohibited the sale or distribution of a book by Francisco 
Martorell entitled "Diplomatic Impunity."

In August President Aylwin reignited the censorship controversy 
when he requested that the national television station delay 
the broadcast of an interview with Michael Townley in which the 
former DINA agent detailed how and why he put a bomb under the 
car of Orlando Letelier.  The President asserted that showing 
the interview on the government-owned station at that time was 
needlessly inflammatory.  The program aired 10 days later, but 
the program's director was dismissed for adding to the debate 
about presidential influence over the state-owned television 
station and for allegedly asserting excessive independence from 
the board of directors.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Citizens have the right to peaceful assembly and association.  
Permission to hold rallies and demonstrations on streets and 
public plazas is issued according to police guidelines.  
Permission must be requested 72 hours in advance, and it is 
usually granted; however, authorities often suggest an 
alternate location to minimize inconvenience to other people.

Prior to September 11, the 20th anniversary of the coup, the 
Government asked Santiago authorities not to authorize 
demonstrations near La Moneda presidential palace, the site 
where most of the fighting took place on the day of the coup 
and where former President Allende committed suicide.  Anticoup 
demonstrators threw rocks at police, erected barricades, 
overturned cars, and set fires.  When Carabineros responded, a 
police vehicle ran over and killed a 66-year-old man, and an 
18-year-old member of the Communist Youth died of gunshot 
wounds, probably the result of Carabinero fire (see Section 
1.a.).  Ten days after the incidents, an attorney representing 
the injured Carabineros asked the courts to prosecute the 
demonstrators who were responsible.  Since he asked that the 
courts pursue the "instigators" as well as the material authors 
of the injuries, human rights groups (some of whom were among 
the organizers) claimed he was attempting to restrict freedom 
of assembly.


     c.  Freedom of Religion

The Constitution provides for freedom of religion.  Chile is 
predominantly Roman Catholic, but other denominations practice 
their faiths without restriction.

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

Chileans by law are free to move within and to enter and leave 
their country.  The National Office of Returnees--established 
by the Congress in 1990 to facilitate the reincorporation into 
Chilean society of more than 26,000 Chileans who have returned 
from exile--has assisted more than 13,000 exiles and their 
families by providing special access to health care, housing, 
and information on job opportunities.

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens 
           to Change Their Government

Chile is a constitutional democracy, and citizens now have the 
right to change their government through periodic elections.  
There is universal suffrage for citizens 18 years of age or 
over, and more than 95 percent of those eligible are registered 
to vote.  Voting is compulsory for those who register.  
National elections for the President and Congress were held on 
December 11, the second since the return to democracy.  
President-elect Frei won the biggest majority in modern Chilean 
history, capturing 58 percent of the vote in a six-candidate 
race, but Chile's unique binomial system allowed the rightist 
opposition to pick up strength in both the Senate and the 
Chamber of Deputies.

The former military government wrote the 1980 Constitution and 
amended it slightly in 1989 after General Pinochet lost a 
referendum to stay in office.  It provides for a strong 
presidency and a legislative branch with more limited powers.  
The President has the authority to designate the "urgency" of 
bills and to determine time limits for Congress to consider 
them.  In addition, the Constitution includes provisions 
designed to protect the interests of the military and the 
political right and, according to its defenders (and even some 
critics), to provide stability in the political process and 
encourage the formation of large coalitions.  The center-left 
coalition which governed Chile in 1993 accepted the legitimacy 
of the 1980 Constitution but sought to amend elements 
characterized as "authoritarian enclaves" left over from the 
previous regime.  These included limitations on the President's 
right to remove chiefs of the armed forces, an electoral system 
that gives the political opposition a disproportionate 
representation in Congress, and the existence of nonelected 
"institutional senators" who deprive the governing coalition of 
an elected majority in the Senate.

Women have had the right to vote in municipal elections since 
1948 and in national elections since 1952, and they are active 
in political life, especially at the grassroots level.  Women 
make up a majority of the registered voters and of voters who 
actually cast ballots, but there are few women in leadership 
positions.  Although some women lost their bids for reelection, 
6 women won new seats in the Chamber of Deputies, increasing 
their numbers to 9 of 120 deputies.  Chile's indigenous people 
are able to participate freely in the political process.  
Although relatively few members of Chile's Indian population 
are politically active, their participation has increased since 
the 1990 democratic transition.  Of the nearly 1 million 
self-described indigenous people in Chile, there is one 
representative of Indian descent in the Congress.

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

The Aylwin Government cooperated with nongovernmental 
organizations that seek to investigate continued human rights 
violations in Chile.  A number of government officials were 
formerly active in the Catholic Church's Vicariate of 
Solidarity (which closed its offices in 1992).  The Vicariate 
had taken the lead in defending human rights during the 
Pinochet regime and provided legal counsel to families of 
victims who were killed or disappeared between 1973 and 1990.  
The Social Aid Foundation of the Christian Churches hired many 
of the Vicariate's lawyers and assumed the bulk of the 
Vicariate's caseload of pre-1990 human rights violations.

Several human rights leaders established the Foundation for 
Documentation and Records of the Vicariate of Solidarity to 
maintain the case files and assist in documenting human rights 
abuses between 1973 and 1990.  The Chilean Human Rights 
Commission is affiliated with the International League of Human 
Rights and continues to gather evidence of police abuses.  The 
Defense Committee of the Peoples' Rights provides legal counsel 
to those currently accused of politically related crimes and to 
victims of human rights abuses.  The Communist Party and the 
Group of Families of the Disappeared Detainees are working for 
the repeal of the 1978 amnesty law.

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status

     Women

Legal distinctions between the sexes still exist, despite a 
1989 law which eliminated many restrictions on women.  Divorce 
is not legal in Chile; those who seek to remarry are required 
to seek annulments.  The courts are relatively tolerant on 
technicalities for dissolving a marriage, but since annulments 
imply that the marriage legally never existed, former wives and 
children are left without any legal recourse for financial 
support.  A bill to create conjugal property as an option in a 
marriage passed the Chamber of Deputies but has not yet been 
voted on in the Senate.  Inheritance laws provide strong 
protection for wives and protect female offspring, and a 1992 
law accords children born out of wedlock the same civil rights 
as offspring born in wedlock.  Many believe, however, that the 
changes in law have not been matched by a change in attitude by 
society, police, or the courts.

Abuses such as wife beating continue to be tolerated or 
ignored.  The National Women's Service (SERNAM), whose director 
was the only woman with cabinet rank in the Aylwin Government, 
estimated that one in four women had been subject to physical 
violence by her husband or partner, but that 75 percent do not 
dare to report it.  A 1992 survey conducted by SERNAM in 
metropolitan Santiago showed the highest level of violence in 
the lower economic strata, where 34 percent of women reported 
that they had experienced physical abuse.  SERNAM conducted 
courses on the legal, medical, and psychological aspects of 
domestic violence for Carabineros, who are often the first 
public officials to intervene in such incidents.  More than 
5,000 have been trained in new techniques for assisting abused 
women.  SERNAM also teaches courses (therapy) for wife abusers 
and allows free followup when the aggressor needs further 
support.  SERNAM estimates that authorities are able to prevent 
further abuse in 70 percent of the cases that are reported.

     Children

The Government is committed to children's rights and welfare, 
and strengthening the family was a prominent campaign theme 
across the political spectrum.  A U.N. Children's Fund study 
found that malnutrition among Chilean children was the lowest 
in the Western Hemisphere, affecting less than 1 percent.  The 
National Minors Service (SENAME) found that sexual abuse of 
minors, some as young as 6 years of age, occurred but that few 
cases are reported.  The Carabineros support the creation of a 
public defender for children's rights.

     Indigenous People

In 1993 Congress passed a law that was drafted by a committee 
composed of representatives of the various indigenous groups 
recognizing the ethnic diversity of the indigenous populations.
It replaced a law that emphasized assimilation, and it gives 
them a greater voice in decisions affecting their lands, 
cultures, and traditions.  The law allows for eventual 
bilingual education in schools with a large indigenous 
population.  The population which identifies itself as 
indigenous (nearly 1 million, according to the 1992 census) 
remains separated from the rest of society, largely because of 
historical, cultural, educational, and geographical factors.  
The Mapuches in southern Chile form the bulk of the indigenous 
population (over 90 percent), but there are small Aimara, 
Atacameno, Huilliche, Rapa Nui, and Kawaskhar populations in 
other parts of Chile.

A young Mapuche leader, Aucan Huilcaman, was convicted of 
inciting land takeovers but was free on bail pending the 
outcome of his appeal.  At the World Human Rights Conference in 
Vienna, he advocated indigenous peoples' rights to "possess, 
control, administer, and manage a territory" while choosing the 
appropriate development strategy to suit each culture.  While 
the new law honors this principle, some Indian leaders would 
prefer more explicit reference to the right for community 
ownership of land according to their traditional pattern.  
Huilcaman was not able to run for Congress because of his 
criminal record, but several other indigenous people were 
candidates.  They tried to form a united front, urging Indians 
to vote their ethnic origins rather than for political 
affiliation.  However, most of the Indian candidates were on 
the leftist ticket that won no seats in the Congress.  One, 
Francisco Huenchumilla, a Christian Democratic moderate, ran 
for reelection and won easily, capturing more than 47 percent 
of the vote in a seven-candidate race.


     National/Ethnic/Racial Minorities

Chile is a relatively homogeneous and isolated society and 
intolerance of small ethnic minority groups is evident.  A 
Korean immigrant was banned from a local health club because 
the owner claimed that her "odor" would keep other customers 
from coming to use the sauna.  She filed suit, and the Supreme 
Court ruled in her favor, but the courts have yet to fix 
damages.

     Religious Minorities

The number of bombings of Mormon churches declined this year, 
with 15 reported, apparently as a result of the success the 
police had in arresting leaders of the Lautaro.  Two of the 
incidents, however, were more violent than those in the past, 
with terrorists confronting worshipers in the churches.  The 
terrorists' motives for attacking the Mormons were not clear 
but were apparently more political than religious.

B'nai B'rith International raised concern about the activities 
of a small "neo-Nazi" movement; its District 27 issued a report 
in July that noted groups of as many as 200 Chileans had held 
ceremonies to declare their allegiance to the Third Reich and 
their opposition to democracy.

     People with Disabilities

Chilean law does not require that public buildings provide 
access for people with disabilities, and the Santiago metro, 
the pride of Chile's system of public transportation, has no 
provisions for wheelchair access.  Chile has for many years 
conducted a telethon to assist people with disabilities in 
obtaining physical therapy.  Groups connected with the telethon 
are beginning to increase public awareness of people with 
disabilities.  For example, one group formed a dance company 
with several of the performers confined to wheelchairs.  
Reserved parking for the disabled is no longer a rarity.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

Most workers have the right to form unions without prior 
authorization or to join existing unions, and 14.4 percent of 
the work force was organized at the end of 1992.  Legislation 
was introduced to allow government employee associations the 
same rights as trade unions.  Such associations now participate 
in labor centrals, but they do not enjoy the same legal 
protection as unions.  Only the police and military are not 
allowed to form such employee associations.

The Labor Code now permits the formation of nationwide labor 
centrals, and the largest and most representative one, the 
Unified Workers Central (CUT), legalized its status in April 
1992.  The Labor Code does not conform in key respects to 
International Labor Organization Conventions 87 and 98 on, 
respectively, freedom of association and the right to organize 
and bargain collectively, which Chile has not ratified.  
However, the Government actively encouraged labor to organize.  
The number of labor unions increased by more than 40 percent 
under the Aylwin Government.

Affiliations with confederations and federations (second-tier 
labor groups) continued to increase, and many of them maintain 
ties to international labor organizations.  The CUT is not now 
affiliated with any labor international, but it scheduled an 
extraordinary congress in 1994 to reconsider the matter.  
Unions are independent of the Government, but most union 
leaders are elected from lists based on party affiliation.  The 
CUT has factions affiliated with the Christian Democratic (the 
largest), Socialist, and Communist parties.

Reforms to the Labor Code in 1990 removed significant 
restrictions on the right to strike.  Labor unions continue to 
object to the requirement that workers vote by secret ballot in 
the presence of a labor inspector or notary on whether to 
accept a company's final offer.  Striking workers may no longer 
be fired after 60 days on strike without severance benefits.  
Employers are required to show cause whenever they fire workers 
but can claim "needs of the enterprise" as a sufficient cause.  
Observers believe that some employers invoke this clause to 
fire employees for attempting to form unions.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

The climate for collective bargaining has improved, and the 
number of negotiated contracts has grown steadily; at the end 
of 1992, 16.7 percent of the eligible workers had collective 
bargaining agreements.  The process for collectively 
negotiating a formal contract is heavily regulated, and the 
Labor Code contains detailed rules for contract negotiations.  
Multicompany or sector negotiations require the prior consent 
of all affected companies and unions, so most negotiations take 
place at the company level.  The Labor Code allows multiple 
unions and worker committees to engage in parallel negotiations 
with the same company.  Strikes may be called only if workers 
reject a collective bargaining agreement.  However, the law 
permits (and the Aylwin administration encouraged) informal 
union-management discussions to reach collective agreements 
("convenios") outside the regulated bargaining process.  These 
agreements have the same force as formal contracts.  Once a 
contract has been signed, workers must pursue grievances in the 
court system.  

The Labor Code specifies what can be "matters for collective 
bargaining" and prohibits collective bargaining over any issue 
that "can limit or restrict the ability of the employer to 
organize or direct the enterprise."  Labor leaders say this is 
used by some employers to limit discussions of working 
conditions.  Employers may also include a clause in individual 
employment contracts that some employees are supervisory 
personnel who are not allowed to participate in collective 
bargaining.  In the telephone company, for example, most 
technical personnel have such contracts.

Temporary workers--defined in the Labor Code as agricultural, 
construction, and port workers, as well as entertainers--may 
now form unions, but their right to collective bargaining 
continues to be restricted.  Some 700,000 workers, including 
most agricultural workers, are limited to informal 
negotiations, meaning they have no protection from unfair 
bargaining practices.

The Labor Code provides sanctions for unfair bargaining 
practices that protect workers from dismissal during the 
bargaining process, but union leaders claim companies invoke 
the "needs of the enterprise" clause to fire workers after a 
union has signed a new contract.  Although the law protects 
union officials from such dismissals, second-echelon leaders 
who do not hold union offices may lose their jobs.  The Labor 
Ministry's Director General says this raises questions about 
the real cause for dismissals, but his legal authority only 
allows inspectors to assure that companies make severance 
payments; they do not investigate the causes for a dismissal.  
If a worker proves in court that he was fired unfairly, this 
will raise his severance payment by 20 percent but not get his 
job back.

The Labor Code also applies in Chile's duty-free zones.


     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

Forced or compulsory labor is prohibited in the Constitution 
and the Labor Code, and there is no evidence that it is 
currently practiced.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

Child labor is regulated by law.  Children as young as 14 years 
old may legally be employed only with permission of parents or 
guardians, after completing their compulsory elementary 
schooling and in restricted types of labor.  Those aged 15 to 
18 may be employed in a larger variety of jobs and at expanded 
hours, but only with their parent's or guardian's permission.  
Labor inspectors enforce these regulations and voluntary 
compliance is good in the formal sector.  Economic factors have 
forced many children to seek employment in the informal economy 
which is more difficult to regulate.  Carabineros have 
procedures to counsel parents who force their children to work.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

Minimum wages, hours of work, and occupational safety and 
health standards are regulated by law.  The maximum legal 
workweek is 48 hours, which must be worked in the course of 
either 5 or 6 days.  The maximum length of any given workday is 
10 hours.  Since the Aylwin administration took office, there 
have been tripartite negotiations each year in which business 
and labor agreed to the minimum wage proposal sent by the 
Government to Congress.  Since 1990, the minimum wage increased 
by more than 30 percent in real terms.  Lower paid workers also 
receive a family subsidy (which employers deduct from their 
taxes) to help raise their earnings to an acceptable level.  
The formula for calculating the minimum wage considers 
projected future inflation and increases in productivity, and 
the minimum monthly wage is now about $115 (46,000 pesos).

The Ministry of Labor has inspectors to enforce laws covering 
working conditions.  Despite increases in resources, 
enforcement is difficult, especially in small enterprises and 
the informal sector, but voluntary compliance is fairly good.  
Workers who remove themselves from situations that endanger 
their health and safety have their employment protected, 
provided they have asked a workers' delegate to bring the 
problem to the attention of labor inspectors. (###) 




[end of document]

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