We, members of the Canadian Human Rights Observation Mission in Chile, as well as academics, representatives of the major trade unions and social organizations, and parliamentarians from various political parties in Quebec and Canada, wish to express our deepest concern at the recent decisions of the Court of Appeals of Santiago which reduced the sentences of 9 perpetrators of crimes against humanity and acquitted 8 others of all guilt. These decisions are now being evaluated by the Supreme Court. As the Association of Families of the Detained-Disappeared puts it, this decision by the Court of Appeals seems to demonstrate the judicial system's loyalty to the legacy of Augusto Pinochet's military dictatorship and erases the hard fought progress in human rights justice that has been made in Chile so far. With this decision, Chile disregards all of its obligations to international law and the guarantee of non-repetition of crimes against humanity, which are so important to Canada and the international system. The fact that the Court of Appeal itself denied, a few days ago, the possibility of serving their sentences through domiciliary release to the thousands of prisoners who were detained in the context of the demonstrations since last October in Chile seems to show a bias or a certain partiality. Major international human rights organizations, such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights or the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, have strongly called on Chile to respect international conventions on freedom of expression and demonstration, which implies that it does not keep people imprisoned for having participated in demonstrations. We join in this fundamental request that has not been met, by either the judiciary or the political power in Chile.
We also wish to express our utmost concern that the Chilean political power will seek to promote impunity for perpetrators of crimes against humanity through various law initiatives or projects, taking advantage of the context of the pandemic. In this regard, we appreciate that the Chilean Constitutional Court, on the 13th of April, rejected the requests of official senators seeking to include the soldiers convicted of crimes against humanity in the executive's proposal that grants the possibility to prisoners of common crimes who have served two-thirds of their sentences, or to pregnant women or those with minors under-two years, to serve the rest of their sentences out of jail, in freedom. We fully support the National Institute of Human Rights and the Association of Families of the Detained-Disappeared in their rejection and allegation against attempts by coalition senators, like Jacqueline Van Rysselberghe Herrera, to include convicts of crimes against humanity in the proposal of the Executive led by the Ministry of Justice Don Hernán Larraín, which aimed to alleviate the risks in prisons in the context of the pandemic of COVID-19, a benefit originally applicable to the entire incarcerated population. We are pleased that the law has finally been adopted without including those people whose crimes are the most serious in existence.
However, we would like to express our utmost concern regarding the possible adoption of a bill known as the "Humanitarian Law" - bulletin No. 12. 345-07 – which seeks to release all those convicted of crimes against humanity who have reached 75 years of age. This bill and was presented by the Chilean government December 2018 and was reactivated last April in the Senate of the Republic. The revival of this bill, through discussion at first and then with extreme urgency, sends a very clear message to the international community: the coalition sectors of the Government of Chile will not rest until they have succeeded in releasing those guilty of crimes against humanity. If adopted, Minister Hernán Larrain reported on the 14th of April, in the Senate Constitution Commission, that no less than 83 of the 122 beneficiaries of the law nationwide would be people who have been convicted for crimes against humanity, so much so that the Law appears to have been written with the exact objective to grant them impunity.
As the international community recently celebrated Rwanda's latest capture of suspects of crimes against humanity, as Canadians we ask ourselves how it is possible that Chile is attempting to free individuals responsible of crimes as atrocious through legislative channels. Despite this bill following the legislative process with an uncertain result in the National Congress, the very existence of such a proposal is of great concern to us as Canadians. Consequently, the political power would be intervening in favour of impunity for crimes against humanity, with the most serious consequences and violating all of Chile's international obligations in terms of guaranteeing non-repetition of such crimes. If this bill were to be adopted and implemented, it would pose intractable problems in regards to international law standards, which would in turn affect Chile's privileged trade relationship with Canada. We hope that the public hearings convened by the Senate Constitution Committee of the Republic of Chile may lead Chilean parliamentarians to make the only possible decision in order to respect international law and reject Bill 12 345, just as the decision taken by most of the members of the Commission on Human Rights of the Senate of the Republic.
We have assumed the duty of reporting this situation to the major media outlets in Quebec and Canada, as well as to our political representatives. Deputy members of the Canadian Human Rights Observation Mission, Sol Zanetti and Simon-Pierre Tremblay-Savard are also making the Quebec and Canadian parliaments aware of this situation. Our country is dismayed by the apparent disregard for international law being expressed by Chile in the latest decisions of the Court of Appeals of Santiago or the various attempts by coalition senators to include those guilty of crimes against humanity in proposals for releases of ordinary prisoners. Beyond this statement, we are working in collaboration with other important organizations in our country to continue informing the Canadian population and count on their support in future international campaigns to reject impunity for crimes against humanity in Chile. We join the recent statements of the organizations that are members of the Memory Sites Network, CODEPU and the Association of Families of the Detained-Disappeared, to urge the Government of Chile and all its institutions, including the Court of Appeals, to fully respect the State’s obligation emanating from international treaties ratified by Chile and to uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights.
We reiterate our full support to Chilean and international organizations that ensure respect for human rights and compliance with Chile's international obligations. In this regard, we welcome the forthcoming launch of the National Mechanism for Prevention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment at the National Institute of Human Rights.
MEMBERS OF THE PARLIAMENT OF CANADA AND OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OF QUEBEC / MEMBRES DU PARLEMENT DU CANADA ET DE L’ASSEMBLÉE NATIONALE DU QUÉBEC / MIEMBROS DEL PARLAMENTO DE CANADÁ Y DEL PARLEMENTO DE QUÉBEC
Honourable Professor Irwin Cotler, P.C., O.C.,O.Q., Former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Founder and Chair of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human rights. (Antiguo Ministro de Justicia y Fiscal General del Gobierno de Canadá, también fundador y director del Centro Raoul Wallenberg por los Derechos Humanos).
Honourable Jack Harris, New Democratic Party (NDP) Critic for Foreign Affairs, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, NDP Member of Parliament, Riding of St. John's East, Newfoundland and Labrador, Parliament of Canada, (Parlamento de Canadá)
Senator the Honourable Marilou McPhedran, Independent Senator – Manitoba | Sénatrice indépendante – Manitoba, Sénat du Canada | Senate of Canada Territoire Algonquin | Algonquin Territory Bureau (Parlamento de Canadá)
Honorable Stéphane Bergeron, Porte-parole en matière d’affaires étrangères, Député du bloc québécois, Circonscription de Montarville, Parlement du Canada (Parlamento de Canadá)
Honourable Heather McPherson, NDP Member of Parliament, Riding of Edmonton Strathcona, Parliament of Canada (Parlamento de Canadá)
Honorable Simon-Pierre Savard-Tremblay, Député du Bloc québécois, Circonscription de Saint-Hyacinthe-Bagot, Parlement du Canada (Parlamento de Canadá)
Honourable Paul Manly, Green Member of Parliament, Riding of Nanaimo – Ladysmith, Parliament of Canada (Parlamento de Canadá)
Honorable Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe, Député du Bloc Québécois, Circonscription de Lac-Saint-Jean, Parlement du Canada (Parlamento de Canadá)
Honorable Alexandre Boulerice, Député du Nouveau Parti démocratique (NPD), Circonscription de Rosemont - La Petite-Patrie, Parlement du Canada (Parlamento de Canadá)
Honorable Osvaldo Núñez, ex-Député du Bloc Québécois, Circonscription de Bourassa, Parlement du Canada (Parlamento de Canadá)
Honorable Catherine Dorion, Députée de Québec solidaire, Circonscription de Taschereau, Assemblée nationale du Québec (Parlamento de Québec)
Honorable Sol Zanetti, Député de Québec solidaire, Circonscription de Jean-Lesage, Assemblée nationale du Québec (Parlamento de Québec)
Honorable Andrés Fontecilla, Député de Québec solidaire, Circonscription de Laurier-Dorion, Assemblée nationale du Québec (Parlamento de Québec)
Honorable Ruba Ghazal, Députée de Québec solidaire, Circonscription de Mercier, Assemblée nationale du Québec (Parlamento de Québec)
MAYORS / MAIRES / ALCALDES
Madam Mayor Sue Montgomery, Mayor of Burrough Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Alcalde de la ciudad Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Canada
Madam Mayor Giuliana Fumagalli, Mayor of Burrough Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension, Alcalde de la ciudad Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension, Canada
MEMBERS OF THE QUEBEC AND CANADIAN DELEGATION TO CHILE / MEMBRES DE LA DÉLÉGATION QUÉBÉCOISE ET CANADIENNE AU CHILI / MIEMBROS DE LA DELEGACIÓN DE QUEBEC Y CANADÁ EN CHILE:
Simon-Pierre Savard-Tremblay, diputado del partido Bloc Québécois en el Parlamento de Canadá
Sol Zanetti, diputado del partido Quebec solidaire en la Asamblea nacional de Quebec.
Luc Allaire, responsable de relaciones internacionales de la Centrale de syndicats du Québec (Central de sindicatos de Quebec) - CSQ y presidente del Centre international de solidarité ouvrière (Centro internacional de solidaridad obrera) - CISO ;
Marcos Ancelovici, PhD, titular de la Cátedra de Investigación de Canadá en Sociología de Conflictos Sociales y profesor del Departamento de Sociología de la Université du Quebec à Montréal
Marie-Christine Doran, PhD, profesora titular de la Escuela de Estudios Políticos y directora del Observatorio Violencia, Criminalización y Democracia de la Université d’Ottawa
Ricardo Peñafiel, PhD, profesor asociado del Departamento de Ciencia Política, Université du Quebec à Montréal – UQAM, co-director del Grupo de Investigación sobre los Imaginarios Políticos - GRIPAL
Denise Gagnon, representante sindical de la Fédération de travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (Federación de trabajadores y trabajadoras de Quebec) - FTQ y presidente de la Fundación Salvador Allende de Montreal;
Pierre Mouterde, ensayista y exprofesor de filosofía del Collège Limoilou;
Isabel Orellana PhD, profesora titular, Université du Quebec à Montreal Comité Directivo del Centro de Investigación en Educación y Formación en Medioambiente y Ecociudadanía
PROFESSORS AND DIRECTORS OF RESEARCH CENTERS / PROFESSEURS ET DIRECTEURS DE CENTRES DE RECHERCHE / PROFESORES Y DIRECTORES DE CENTROS DE INVESTIGACIÓN :
John Packer, Neuberger-Jesin Professor of International Conflict Resolution, Director of the Human Rights Research and Education Centre, University of Ottawa, Canada
Dominique Arel, PhD, Full Professor, Director of the Chair of Ukrainian Studies, School of Political Studies, University of Ottawa
Jennifer Carter, PhD, Associate Professor, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), Canada
Pierre Beaucage, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Université de Montréal, Canada
Luis Van Isschott, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Toronto, Canada
Victor Armony, PhD, Full Professor, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), Director of the Laboratoire interdisciplinaire d’études latino-américaines (LIELA) and co-director of the Latin American Studies Network of Montreal (RÉLAM), Canada
Dimitrios Karmis, PhD, Full Professor, President of the Association of Professors of the University of Ottawa (APUO), Vice-Director of the School of Political Studies, University of Ottawa
Anne Latendresse, PhD, Full Professor, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), Director of the Centre d'études et de recherches sur le Brésil (Centre for Research on Brazil – CERB), Canada
Salvador Herencia-Carrasco, Prof. DCC 3110- Inter-American Human Rights System and Director of the Human Rights Clinic, CREDP/HRREC, University of Ottawa, Canada
Martin Hébert, Phd, Full Professor, Université Laval, Center for Indigenous Conservation and Development Alternatives and Centre inter universitaire d’études et de recherches autochtones, Canada
Geneviève Tellier, PhD, Full Professor, University of Ottawa, Canada
Cristina Rojas, PhD, Full Professor, Director, Institute of Political Economy Carleton University, Canada
Sylvie Paquerot, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Ottawa, Canada
Denis Langlois, Chercheur affilié au Centre d'études sur la gouvernance, Université d'Ottawa et ex-formateur sur les droits humains, Centre Pearson pour le maintien de la paix, Canada
Claude Morin, PhD, Full Professor (retired), Histoire de l'Amérique latine, Université de Montréal, Canada
José Antonio Giménez Micó PhD, Professor, Hispanic and Latin American Studies, Concordia University, Montreal, 2014 CCSL Outstanding Contribution Award, Canada
Pierre Beaudet, PhD, Associate Professor, Université du Québec en Outaouais, Member of the Editorial board of Nouveaux cahiers du socialisme, Canada.
Karine Vanthuyne, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Ottawa, Director of the Chair on Teaching and Decolonization, Director of the Interdisciplinary Research Group on the Territories of Extraction (IRGTE), Canada
Francine Saillant PhD., Professor Emeritus, Université Laval, Canada
Leila Celis, PhD., Full Professor, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), Canada
Marie-Josée Massicotte, PhD, Associate Professor, Director of the Institute of Feminist and Gender Studies, University of Ottawa, Canada
Joao Velloso, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Ottawa, Canada
Anne-Marie Reynaud, PhD, Associate Researcher, Center for Research Ethics, Université de Montréal, Canada.
Marc-André Anzueto, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Université du Québec en Outaouais (UQO), Canada
Etienne Roy Grégoire, PhD, SSHRC-FRQSC Postdoctoral Fellow, McGill Faculty of Law, Canada
Myriame Martineau, PhD. Professor-Researcher-Creator, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), Canada
José Del Pozo, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), Canada
Florence Larocque, PhD, Professor, École nationale d’administration publique, Canada
Camille Denicourt-Fauvel, PhD candidate, Doctoral Researcher, Sciences Po, Centre de recherches internationales (CERI), CNRS, Paris, France
Virginie Jetté, Doctoral Student, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa, Canada
Marie-Dominik Langlois, Doctorante, University of Ottawa and École des hautes études en sciences sociales (ÉHÉSS, Paris), Coordonator of the Interdisciplinary Research Group on the Territories of Extraction (IRGTE), Canada
Viviana Fridman, PhD, Responsable des programmes de deuxième cycle en Études internationales, Université de Montréal, Canada
Ignacio L. Moya, Doctoral Fellow, Western University, Canada
David Longtin, Doctoral Fellow, University of Ottawa, Groupe de recherche sur les imaginaires politiques en Amérique latine (GRIPAL)
Juan Carlos Aguirre, Ph.D., Professor, Cégep du Vieux Montréal, Canada
NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS / ORGANISATIONS NATIONALES / ORGANIZACIONES NACIONALES:
Jacques Letourneau, Président de la Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN), Canada (Confederación de Sindicatos Nacionales)
Daniel Boyer, Président, Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec (FTQ), Canada (Federación de Trabajadores y Trabajadoras del Québec)
Sonia Ethier, Présidente, Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ), Canada (Central de Sindicatos del Québec)
Caroline Quesnel, Présidente, Fédération nationale des enseignantes et des enseignants du Québec (FNEEQ-CSN), Canada (Federación Nacional de profesores y profesoras del Quebec)
Brandon Silver, Director of Policy and Projects, Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, Canada
(Centro Raoul Wallenberg por los Derechos Humanos, fundado por el antiguo Ministro de Justicia de Canadá, Honorable Irwin Cotler)
Dominique Daigneault, Présidente, Conseil central du Montréal métropolitain, Centrale des syndicats nationaux, CCMM-CSN, Canada. (Consejo cemtral del Montreal metropolitano, Central de sindicatos nacionales)
Christian Nadeau, Président, Ligue des droits et libertés, Canada (Liga de Derechos y Libertades)
Amélie Nguyen, Coordinator, Centre international de solidarité ouvrière CISO, Montréal, Canada
Marie-Eve Marleau, Coordinatrice, Comité pour les droits humains en Amérique latine CDHAL
Zaida Macías, Vice-president, Fondation Salvador Allende de Montréal, Canada
Juan Larenas F., Comité de solidarité Carlota Van Schouwen, Canada
This content has been updated on August 18, 2020.