Conference Reminder: Chile and the IAHRS

This Wednesday (20th May) UCL’s Institute of the Americas will host the conference ‘Chile and the Inter-American Human Rights System‘.

This one-day event seeks to cater to an international community of human rights practitioners and researchers of the Americas from across the humanities and the social sciences by focusing on an interdisciplinary and detailed examination of the most recent cases decided by the Inter American Human Rights System against the Chilean state.

The Chilean cases decided by the Inter-American System of Human Rights illustrate the central challenges in the areas of torture, indigenous rights and LGBT rights in Chile, but also in the Americas more generally. The discussions will focus on the following cases:

a. Atala Riffo and daughters vs. Chile

b. Garcia Lucero and others vs. Chile; and

c. Norin Catriman et. al. vs. Chile;

Presentations will examine the broader topics of human rights abuses in the Americas in three proposed streams:

Stream 1: Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Persons

In 2003 the Supreme Court of Chile, ruled against Karen Atala, a lesbian mother and judge, denying her custody of her three daughters on the basis of her sexual orientation.

On 24 February 2012, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights condemned the Government of Chile for its 2003 Supreme Court ruling and found that Chile not only violated Atala’s right to equality and non-discrimination but affirmed for the first time in its history that sexual orientation and gender identity are protected categories and such discrimination violates international law.

Based on this decision this session is aimed at understanding the current challenges of LGBTI rights in Chile and in Latin America more broadly, by exploring the understanding that sexual orientation and gender identity should be found to be a protected class under the American Convention on Human Rights and international human rights law.

Stream 2: Torture

Leopoldo Garcia Lucero was subjected to enforced disappearance, arbitrary detention, physical and psychological torture and other ill treatment in Chile under the Pinochet regime.

On 28 August 2013, the Inter-American Court issued its judgment. The Court ordered Chile to pay Mr. García £ 20,000 in moral damages and ordered it to continue and finalise a criminal investigation “within a reasonable time.” The Court also urged Chile to provide adequate funding to Mr. García to cover the costs of his treatment in the UK for continuing medical and psychological ailments.

Based on this decision the objective of this session will be to analyse past and present cases of torture in Chile, and to place the specific case of Chile in a broader regional comparative context with regards to efforts, on the one hand, to address legacies of torture in Latin America, and, on the other, to prevent its contemporary occurrence.

Stream 3: Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Segundo Aniceto Catrimán, Pascual Huentequeo Pichún Paillalao, Víctor Manuel Ancalaf Llaupe, Juan Ciriaco Millacheo Licán, Florencio Jaime Marileo Saravia, José Benicio Huenchunao Mariñan, Juan Patricio Marileo Saravia and the activist Patricia Roxana Troncoso Robles were tried in 2003 under Law 18.314 (or the Anti-terrorist Law). They were accused of conspiring, planning and starting fire attacks on the property of forestry companies and farm owners located in various municipalities in Araucania and Biobío, and they were given sentences between five and 10 years in prison as well as restrictions on the exercise of their rights to speech and political freedom.

These events occurred in the context of the Mapuche protests demanding the return of their ancestral lands. The dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-90) annulled the communal properties in 1981 and emphasized private property, benefiting wood companies.

On 29th July 2014, the Inter-American Court condemned the Chilean State, because the sentences it issued against the Mapuche for their alleged crimes were based on an antiterrorism piece of legislation which violates the principle of legality and the right to the presumption of innocence.

Based on this case this session aims to analyse the land issues and the human rights of indigenous peoples’ in Chile with a comparative Latin American perspective.

Registration and Further Information

To register to attend the conference please visit the event page. For further details about the event, including the full programme, please see the conference website or email interamerican2015@gmail.com.

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