Chile: Isolated Girls Imprisoned Without Water or Food, Sexual Abuse, Torture, Deaths

Serious police violations of human rights are denounced.

Arbitrary detention, children under 16 in cells without water or food or access to talk to their families, forced nakedness in detention and other more serious forms of sexual violence, torture, excessive use of violence; deaths and disappearances.

Santiago (Oct 25, 2019).- “There is a violation of human rights, every day, this is not something that seems to be happening, it is something that is happening. That is why we need international collaboration, we need strong statements about what is happening in our country with this virtual state of siege,” says Constanza Schonhaut, a human rights activist with the Frente Amplio, with evident anguish after verifying, in a night tour of police stations and communes, the repetition of crimes committed by the State through its armed and security forces. Although “crimes” is a word that falls short in a territory that has in its memory the wounds of state terrorism. “The president intends to treat this as if it were a natural catastrophe, as if it were the rescue of the 33 miners -metaphor that Chilean President Sebastián Piñera used in his speech on emergency measures on Tuesday night-, but here there is a social outbreak, a transversal and massive protest and it’s answered by the military targeting the people.”

Michel Bachellet, former president and current High Commissioner for Human Rights of the UN, said today that she will send a “verification” mission to (investigate) the complaints. It was a request from Piñera, surely desperate to defend his idea of Chile as a Latin American “oasis” where two summit meetings should take place in November and December. The first one would be the Apec – Asia-Pacific commercial forum, where the heads of state of China and the United States would meet; the second is Cop 25 on climate change in a country with “sacrifice zones” in which highly polluting companies are installed in territories of high social vulnerability. Bachellet, however, did not announce her visit in the first person.

Arbitrary detention, children under 16 in cells without water or food or access to talk to their families, forced nakedness in detention and other more serious forms of sexual violence – there are already eight official complaints but many more that could not reach that instance for fear of the complainants of reprisals – torture, excessive use of violence; deaths and disappearances. The situation is very serious and even when the streets are still taken and daily life is interrupted as for a week at noon give form to a completely transversal list of demands that have a first door towards the exit of the crisis in the cessation of the repression, the return to the barracks of the military and a constituent assembly that repeals the constitution that now governs and was drafted in the midst of military dictatorship, institutional life continues to generate images of deep contempt for human rights.

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The role played by the House of Representatives Camila Flores and Paulina Nuñez, when they tore up in front of the full hemicycle, the posters that the legislator Pamela Jiles, along with others, held up, with the numbers of deaths, disappearances and detentions, the same day that the shots of gas and pellets were heard throughout the center of the city of Santiago was the first example of the indifference of the ruling right that today, in the voice of Foreign Minister Teodoro Ribera, said there is no reason not to make the summits of Asia -Pacific (Apec) and the climate (COP 25) in November of this year. Before that, in just 15 days, the Regional Conference on Women’s Rights will take place here, will sexual violence be discussed then in the framework of repression that does not cease? Violation with the spout of a long weapon, that is the description of the act that one of the complaints filed by Indh demands.

Four “crucified” detainees on the antenna of the Peñalolén police station, tied by wrists with wires that cut off their circulation, although the details are superfluous when cruelty is so manifest. The complaint was made on Thursday morning when the Indh discovered that brutality in their visits. Until now, due to this fact, the ban on the approach of police to detainees was achieved and an appeal for protection was filed. One of the many that were exhibited in the Senate, where both the chief of police, Mario Rozas, and the director of INDH crossed words. Rozas assuring that he will initiate inquiries about excesses, Sergio Micco exposing data: 1512 arrests in the regions, 898 in the metropolitan region, 535 wounded -210 with gunshot wounds, 10 shelters, 55 complaints, 5 more for homicide and 8 for sexual violence.

At the door of the Medical College, a dozen high school students stretch their patience like chewing gum while they wait for the injuries to arrive. The worst part was born by Valentina Miranda, 19, in the last year of Liceo who attends Tereza Prats, number 7, a public school of those that never ensure the entrance to the best universities but high amounts of debt with the Credit with State Guarantee. She is the leader of the National Commission of Secondary Students and a member of the Communist Party. Bruises, gas burns, a shot in the ear that caused an infection and marks from the hands of the “pacos” who illegally stopped her inside the building where her partner, Pablo Ferrada lives. As soon as he leaves the place, after three hours, she goes to the street to continue stirring rebellion. “We are happy that they have finally woken up indifferent, happy all here,” she says pointing to her friends.

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45 people lost their sight in the last week because of gun shots. What Piñera called war has fallen from only one side. And no, it is not a war. “Can we talk about dictatorships of the 21st century, just as we speak of left of the 21st century?” Schonhaut asks. “I think we have to analyze it, because what we see is state terrorism in action, lost eyes, lifelong injuries, torture … and everything we don’t know because it happens at night, in vulnerable communes, in regions that we do not cover. There is a president at the head, yes, but sending the army against the protest. ”

Belgium Brione is a feminist, territorial militant, part of the organization Feminist Assemblies of the Eastern Zone (ABZO), on the morning of Thursday the communes of Florida, Peñalolés, Macul, Villa FREi, Ñuñoa met to share the organization of these days. The “common pots” are replicated in the populations and around them also the questions on how to encourage feminist self-care and also anti-racist and anti-colonialist. “Because the Mapuche know what we live now, for them the persecution is constant. And when this gets worse here, the worst is in the territories,” says Belgium. Beside her, another partner puts the concern about childcare. “Yesterday I decided it was time to watch movies and eat well. Because they heard stories of torture and sexual violence, things that happened next to them that are 8 and 12; clearly it affects them and they need a break.

On Thursday the intensity of street mobilization was lower than that of the previous day, but the pans do not stop ringing. In front of where these lines are written, as in a postcard of what the rhythm of Santiago has been for a week, the crowds pass with their flags and posters while there are those who drink beer as part of the state of exception in bars with blinds lowered. Every so often a stone hits the building of the Chamber of Commerce and other groups come to curb that momentum. Anger does not stop, neither does the desire for everything to be transformed. Chile is still burning.

Featured image: The demands include the cessation of repression and the return to military headquarters. Image: AFP

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Translated by JRE/EF