The purpose of this section is to analyze the situation of human rights in a number of countries, both in fulfillment of the work of the Commission and in compliance with specific mandates in this regard, as contained in the corresponding resolutions approved by the General Assembly of the Organization of American States at its ninth regular session, held in La Paz, Bolivia, October 22 through 31, 1979.


          General Assembly Resolution 443, approved on October 31, 1979, requests the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights “to continue to monitor the exercise of human rights in Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay and report thereon to the tenth regular session of the General Assembly.” General Assembly Resolution 446, of that same date, resolves to request the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights “to continue monitoring the situation of human rights in El Salvador, and to include its conclusions in its report to the tenth regular session of the General Assembly.”


          As for the first three countries mentioned, Resolution 443 was adopted when the Annual Report of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights was approved. As for El Salvador, Resolution 446 was adopted when the General Assembly took up the special Report on the Situation of Human Rights in El Salvador.


          In fulfillment of those mandates, the following is an analysis of the situation of human rights in Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay and El Salvador.  


A.       CHILE


1.          INTRODUCTION


          In previous general1 or special2 reports included in its Annual Report, the IACHR covered the situation of human rights in Chile.


          At its ninth regular session, the General Assembly stipulated in operative paragraph 5 of Resolution 443 approving the Annual Report of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights as follows:


         To urge the Government of Chile to step up adoption and implementation of the measures necessary effectively to preserve and ensure the full exercise of human rights in Chile, especially regarding clarification of the situation of those detained persons who have disappeared, return of exiles to their country, lifting of states of emergency, and prompt reinstatement of the right to vote.


          It also stipulated that the exercise of human rights in Chile should continue to be monitored and the findings should be reported to the General Assembly at its next regular session.


          This report deals with those events occurring in Chile in 1979 that relate to the observance of human rights. However, in order to keep the report timely and to present information as up-to-date as possible on the Chilean situation, and in light of the importance of the events occurring in 1980, a number of matters relating to that year have been introduced.




          The main legal provisions affecting human rights that were put into effect during the period covered by this report are as follows:


          a)          The State of Emergency


          The state of emergency, which was declared by Supreme Decree Nº 391 of March 10, 1978, of the Ministry of National Defense, has continued to be successively extended for additional six-month periods and is currently in force.


          Continuation of the state of emergency plus the additional legislation enacted for that specific purpose give the President of the Republic extraordinary authority, thereby retaining its similarity to the exceptional rules of a state of siege.


          b)          Decree Law 2866 of 1979


          Decree Law 2866 amends Law 12927 (Law of Internal State Security), thereby introducing a new punishable offense. This rule was included as a new subparagraph h) of Article 6 of that law and penalize anyone who solicits, receives or accepts money or aid of any kind from abroad to commit crimes or abet the commission thereof.


          Although this provision is unobjectionable in itself, the Commission feels that in light of the range of political offenses included in Chilean law by the present government, the lack of definition of the criminal conduct and the lack of clear and precise definitions of the penalties to be imposed, this new provision might be invoked to punish a variety of activities, including those intended to provide solidarity assistance to victims of human rights violations.


          c)          Decree Law 2621 of April 25, 1979 (Anti-Terrorist Law)


          This Decree Law amends a number of provisions of the Penal Code and other laws in force, such as the State Security Law, the Air Navigation Law and the Arms Control Law. The main changes introduced by the Decree Law are as follows:


          Articles 292, 294, and 295 of the Penal Code are amended. The amendment of Article 292 provides that henceforth the law will presume the existence of an unlawful association when one or more of the members thereof commit any act that constitutes an offense against the social order, public decency, persons or property.


          Article 294 states that “Any person who knowingly and voluntarily supplies the association with mounts, weapons, ammunition, instruments to commit crimes, lodging, hiding places or meeting places is guilty of a criminal offense.” The amendment replaces “mounts, weapons, ammunition, instruments,” by “means and instruments,” so that the previous specific list is replaced by a generic term.


          Last, a new Article 295 bis is added to the Penal Code, as follows:


         Article 295 bis. Any person having credible information on the plans or activities carried out by one or more members of an unlawful association who fails to inform the authorities promptly thereon shall be subject to imprisonment ranging from minimum to maximum terms.

          Spouses, legitimate blood relatives of direct lineal of consanguinity or collateral consanguinity through the second degree, fathers, and natural or illegitimate sons of any member of the association shall be exempt from the penalties stipulated in this article. This exception shall not apply in cases where information was not reported to the authorities in order to abet the use by association members of the results of the crime or simple offenses.


          Under this new Article, the penalties imposed on those knowing of plans or activities of the members of unlawful associations, who do not report thereon to the authorities, range from 41 days to 540 days. Legitimate family members related through direct lineal, consanguinity or affinity, such as parents, children or siblings, and in collateral consanguinity up through the second degree, in other words, cousins, are exempt from such penalties. However, such relatives are subject to penalty when they conceal information from the authorities in order to abet commission of the offense.


          Article 2 of Decree Law 2621 also provides that unlawful associations shall be presumed to be designed to commit crimes against the social order, public decency, persons or property “when one or more of their members have initiated commission of any of the offenses provided for in Article 5a), 5b) and 6c), d), e) and g), of State Security Law 12927; Article 58 of DFL Nº 221 of 1931, on Air Navigation; the first subparagraph of Article 8 of Law 17798 on Weapons Control; or the offenses provided for in Articles 323 to 326, 474 to 476 and 480 of the Penal Code.


          Article 4 of the same law provides that the authors of the crimes stipulated in the various laws mentioned shall not be released on bail, and to that end, adds a new provision to Article 363 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.


          Regarding substantive law, the Decree Law establishes two legal presumptions of the existence of unlawful associations and also establishes a new offense consisting of failing to report certain facts (included as Article 295 bis of the Penal Code).


          Decree Law 2621 which was apparently issued to combat terrorism, contains elements than can convert it into an instrument of human rights violation. It particularly affects the right of persons to be presumed innocent until they are proven guilty; the right of association and freedom from arbitrary interferences in one’s private life, and illegal assaults upon one’s honor and reputation.


          d.       Amendment to the Laws Affecting the Mapuche People (Decree

                    Law 2568 of March 22, 1979, amended by Decree Law 2750 of

                    July 10, 1979)


          The main purpose of this Decree Law is to establish a legal situation under which the land of the Mapuche reservations can be divided up in five years into individual holdings, which will replace the previous common property.


          The Chilean public authorities have stated that participation in the new system of land division is voluntary. However, the decree specifies that it is enough for one occupant of a reservation to request division for the process to be initiated.


          A number of international groups have expressed their opposition to Decree law 2568, arguing that it will represent the cultural extermination of the Mapuche people. Thus after a visit to Chile by an Inter-faith committee mission, the Director of the World Council of Indigenous Peoples, George Manuel, said that actually the main concern with this new law was that it could become a threat to indigenous peoples in all countries. Mr. Manuel said that the effect of the new law would be to “expropriate all existing Indian land and eliminate the Mapuche as a race and as a people.”


          Some of the features of this decree law are as follows:


          Community lands can be divided up into small individual holdings at the request of one occupant who need not necessarily be a Mapuche.


          The decree law does not provide effective measures to prevent coercion or threats to get the Mapuches to accept division of their land.


          The new law does not refer to the Mapuche people as a people; it refers only to the land of the Mapuches.


          The status of the Mapuche people has been the subject of special concern for a number of international groups on protection of human rights and for the national community and the Chilean Catholic Church in 1979. In May, the bishops of Concepción, Los Angeles, Temuco, Araucania, Valdivia and Osorno, issued a pastoral letter on the new Indian law, referring to the problems and difficulties being encountered by the Mapuche people and calling attention to the respect due to the cultural identity of this people.


          The Mapuches are the most numerous ethnic minority in Chile. They are now facing serious problems in their standard of living with regard to such factors as health, nutrition and education, which combine to create one of the most serious cases of poverty in Chile.


          e.          Decree Law 2882 of November 9, 1979


          Decree Law 2882 amends Decree Law 1878 of August 12, 1977, which established basic rules to govern the integration and operation of the National Information Bureau (CNI).


          The amendments included in the law regulating the operation of the CNI are essentially as follows:


          i.          Those that concern the management of the CNI, which provide that the National Deputy Director and the Comptroller of the CNI shall be designated by supreme decree, a requirement that heretofore did not exist. Also added is a provision stipulating that the National Director of the CNI may delegate part of his authority to the National Deputy Director.


          ii.          Provisions relating to CNI funds, amending Article 5 of Decree Law 1878, indicate that funds assigned under the Budget Law will be in lump sums and included under the item for the Ministry of the Interior; for all legal purposes, they are to be reserved funds.


          iii.          Provisions relating to CNI staff. Subparagraph e) of the single Article of Decree 2882 of November 9, 1979, amends the last subparagraph of Article 3 of Decree Law 1878, which provided that: “When staff must be hired who do not come from national defense institutions, approval must be granted by supreme decree, which must be signed also by the Ministry of the Treasury. The legal rules and salaries for them shall be the same as those governing civilian personnel of the Armed Forces, and they shall be considered as such for al jurisdictional and disciplinary purposes.” The present rule replaced the first part of this Article and provides only that “CNI staff shall be regarded as members of the Armed Forces for all jurisdictional and disciplinary purposes.”


          The purpose of this decree law was to give the CNI greater operational independence and remove from it any type of external control. The reserved nature of its funds and its militarily disciplined staff give it an exceptional status within the Chilean state.


          f)          Decree Law 3451 of July 17, 1980


          Decree Law 3451, published in the Official Gazette of July 17, 1980, issued by the Government Junta, allows the periods of detention that the President of the Republic can order during the state of emergency to be extended to 20 days.


          The authority of the Executive to restrict personal liberty has always existed under the emergency regime known as “state of siege” in Chile. However, Decree 1877, published in the Official Gazette of August 13, 1977, provided that “by declaration of the states of emergency, which the State Security Law regulates, the President of the Republic shall be authorized to detain persons up to five days in their own homes or in places other than jails” (Article 1).


          Decree Law 3451 adds to that provision the following new subparagraph: “The period established in the previous paragraph may be extended up to 20 days when crimes against the security of the state that result in death, injury or abduction of persons are being investigated.”


          Last, Decree Law 3168, of February 6, 1980, adds the following subparagraph to this same first article: “This authority shall be exercised by supreme decree signed by the Ministry of the Interior, with the formula: ‘By order of the President of the Republic’”.


          The following observations should be made on this new decree law:


          1.          It is one further step in the process of making the state of emergency only one more degree of the traditional state of siege.


          Until Decree Law 1887 was issued, the state of emergency provided for in the State Security Law did not include authority permitting the restriction of personal liberty.


          With issuance of Decree Law 1887, the Executive Branch was given the following additional powers during this “state of emergency”.


          1.      To detain persons up to five days (this period may now be extended to twenty days);


          2.      To provide for the expulsion or departure from the country of persons under Decree Law 81, which originally was applicable only during a state of siege;


          3.      To provide for the forced stay of persons in a particular location in the national territory for up to three months. (Decree Law 3168, of February 6, 1980).


          2.          Extension of the period of detention up to twenty days is provided for those cases where “crimes against the security of the state that result in death, injury or abduction of persons are being investigated.”


          This means that the Executive Branch has been given powers that previously were exercised only by the courts.


          Obviously, the purpose of giving the Government the authority to detain persons up to twenty days in cases where crimes are being investigated that should be brought before the courts is precisely to sidestep the minimum safeguards established in the law to guard against detention of innocent persons.


          3.          The Government’s authority to retain persons is not subject to any control of legality or justification of such measures. Arrest warrants are exempt from registry with the Comptroller General of the Republic.


          This has made possible repeated unjust detentions, which now may be extended up to twenty days, during which time no court is empowered to rule on the lawfulness of arbitrariness of the detention.


          4.          Exercise of the authority to detain up to five days has in practice been delegated to the security services, particularly the CNI agents, who make the arrest and then request the Ministry of the Interior to issue the arrest warrant. According to complaints received by the IACHR, a high percentage of persons arrested recently by CNI agents have complained that they were submitted to interrogation under various kinds of torture.


          g)          Adoption of a new Political Constitution


          In August 1980, the Military Government Junta approved a new Political Constitution to replace the 1925 Constitution. The new Constitution was submitted to a plebiscite on September 11, 1980.


          At this time, the IACHR will make no reference to its provisions, some of which will not go into effect for nine years. In any event the Commission cannot fail to point out that, according to major Chilean agencies and eminent persons, the procedures under which the Constitution was adopted were manifestly irregular, in view of the existing state of emergency in Chile under which public liberties are suspended; the lack of impartial control over the balloting, which was entirely under the Government authorities; and the fact that blank ballots were counted as votes in favor.




          a)          Homicides imputed to the authorities


          During the period of this report, the Commission has received three complaints on the cases of persons who, after their arrest, died under irregular circumstances while detained by Government authorities. The complaints are being handled in accordance with the Commission’s Regulations. Among these complaints is the case of Professor Federico Renta Alvarez Santibáñez (Case 4573).


          Federico Renato Alvarez Santibáñez, Case 4573


          On Wednesday, August 15, 1979, at 5:00 hours, he was arrested by members of the national police of the Ninth Police Station. On that same day, 15 civilians arrived in approximately five automobiles and forcibly entered his home. He was first detained by the national police, but was later transferred to an office of the National Information Bureau (CNI). On Monday, August 20, at about 15:30 hours, he was seen being taken to the prosecutor’s office, and at that time was in very bad condition. He was barely able to stand up and was staggering so badly he almost fell to the floor. He acted like a robot and had lost his sight completely. They held him up the entire time and had to help him to walk since he could not do so alone. They took him from there to solitary confinement, and he was then transferred to the infirmary. At about 23:00 hours, they took him to the central station, where he died around 7:00 hours, as a result of the torture he had received during the six days of his detention.


          The death of Mr. Alvarez Santibáñez, as a result of mistreatment and torture while he was illegally detained in the CNI offices, as verified by the Commission, constitutes, in the Commission’s judgment, a grave violation of the rights to life, humane treatment, liberty and personal security. The Government of Chile has not responded to the Commission’s request for information.


          Although the Commission has not received any formal complaint, it has been informed that other persons have died as a result of the actions of the security agencies. In many of these cases, the families have requested an investigation. Among such cases are those of Juan Carlos Soto Vega and Mercedes Luzmila Polden Pelmen.


          In addition, there are, according to the complaints or information received by the IACHR the cases of alleged murder, while detained by government agents under irregular circumstances, of Ricardo Núñez Muñoz, Rosalindo Eugenio Durán Barahona, David Acuña Sepúlveda, Jorge Alejandro Cabedo Aguilera, Julio Hernán Peña Mardones, Ricardo Osvaldo Peña Escobar, Ricardo Ruz Zañarín and José Eduardo Jara Aravena. The latter, according to the complaints, was a journalism student who died on August 2, 1980, as a result of the torture by Investigation detectives who were members of a self-styled “Comando Vengadores de Mártires.” After abducting Jara along with another person, they held him incommunicado for ten days until they released him, but in such a state that he was unable to survive. Because of the gravity of this event, the Supreme Court appointed a Visiting Magistrate to investigate the crime.


          b.       Important events occurring in 1979/80 in connection with

                    persons who have disappeared from 1973 on


          The trial that took place after bodies were found in the ovens of Lonquén, which was covered in the previous report, had repercussions on the situation of human rights in Chile in 1979. In addition to the information in the 1978 report, it must be added that the families of the Lonquén victims were not satisfied with the fact that the Military Prosecutor accused eight national policemen (Carabineros) of committing the crime of unnecessary violence by causing the death of fifteen youths and campesinos on the island of Maipú. According to the families, the acts that took place were multiple abductions and homicides and falsification of public documents, so that they appealed the Military Court’s decision. This appeal has not been ruled on by the Court, which avoided pronouncing judgment and ordered the prosecutor to decide on the amnesty requested by the accused. Meanwhile, on July 30, 1979, the prosecutor released the national policemen (Carabineros) under bail, and this decision was approved by the Court Martial.


          Finally, on August 16 of that year, the Military Judge of Santiago, under Decree Law 2191 (Amnesty decree, covered in the previous report), dismissed the charges against the “Carabineros”.


          When appealed by the families, the decision was upheld by the Court Martial on October 22, 1979.


          During the trial, requests were repeatedly made to have the remains of the Lonquén victims turned over to their families. The requests, however, were always denied.


          Except for the body of Sergio A. Maureira Lillo, the bodies were all buried in a common grave, on instructions from the Military Prosecutor, despite the Court Martial order of September 11, 1979, to turn over the remains to “those persons proving their family relationship.”


          In summary, the way the “Lonquén trial” was handled demonstrated the fate of many of those who have disappeared in Chile since September 1973.


          In addition to the Lonquén discovery, other information has been submitted on the possible fate of persons who have disappeared particularly the discovery of nearly 300 graves with bodies of persons unidentified (except in two cases) in section 29 of the general cemetery of Santiago, and the discovery of hidden graves in Yumbel and Mulchen. The first of these cases was completely cleared up by the authorities, but that is not the case of the Mulchen discovery, concerning which the courts have thus far not complied with demands that an investigation be made.




          a)          Arrest of individuals


          In 1979, according to information in the Commission’s possession, Chilean authorities have continued the practice of irregular arrests, without complying with the legal provisions governing the arrests procedure.


          The Commission has received a number of complaints from persons who were arrested and then, after a number of days of interrogation and torture, were released.


          These complaints are being handled in accordance with the Commission’s Regulations.


          In addition, information in the Commission’s possession reports numerous arrests with the same characteristics. The number of arrests recorded in 1979 is shown in the following table:






















Arrests recorded

    in Santiago

















          Arrests recorded

             in Provinces














































(x)      Statistical correction because of adding cases not included in the month in which the arrest occurred and because of elimination of arrests whose inclusion in the respective months is unwarranted.


Source:         Annual Report of the Vicary of La Solidaridad, 1979.



          In the actions to arrest persons, both the “Carabineros” and personnel from other security agencies and the CNI took part.


          b)          Mass arrests


          In 1979, there were numerous mass arrests designed to repress public demonstrations. It should be stressed that all of these demonstrations were absolutely peaceful.


          The best-known cases were the following:


-         On January 20, 1979, around fifty persons were arrested by the “Carabineros” in Plaza Almagro and accused of public disturbances. The demonstrators were released a few hours later, after their residence was verified.


-         On March 8, 1979, International Women’s Day, some thirty persons were arrested and accused of public disturbances. Most of them were released the following morning.


-         On April 18, 1979, sixty-two relatives of arrested persons who have disappeared chained themselves to the fence of the National Congress, where the Ministry of Justice now is installed, and were arrested by the “Carabineros.” They remained in jail for three days.


-         On May 1, 1979, on the occasion of the mass public demonstration celebrating Labor Day, over four hundred persons were arrested. Two hundred eighty persons were held for from four to fifteen days. The remainder were released from the police stations.


  -       On September 4, 1979, three persons were arrested on the public road and accused of causing disturbances. The demonstrators were commemorating the “civil Day” of the Chilean people, since presidential elections traditionally took place on September 4. The prisoners were held for five days of the police station, under the authority of the President of the Republic to detain persons for that time, according to the powers given him under the state of emergency.


-        On September 15, 1979, a funeral mass was held at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago for the Lonquén victims. On leaving the Cathedral, forty-three persons were arrested and detained for five days under Decree Law 1877.


-         On November 16, 1979, seven youths were arrested in the Paseo Ahumada, when they were distributing the text of a speech by former President Eduardo Frei. All of them were released the same day.


-         On November 23, 1979, the Democratic Youth Movement (MJD) held a meeting in honor of former President Eduardo Frei, which was prohibited by the authorities. The participants gathered at the Frei residence. Where he, along with the President of the MJF, addressed them. One hundred seven persons, including the speaker, were arrested by the “Carabineros.”


          Minors were released, but seventy-two adults were held for five days by order of the President of the Republic under Decree Law 1877.


-        On November 25, 1979, the anniversary of the Santiago Charter, a document signed at the International Symposium of the Human Rights Year in Chile (1978), was commemorated at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago. Eleven persons were arrested and were released twenty-four hours later.


-        On November 29, 1979, during a demonstration protesting the high cost of living, forty-six persons were arrested and were released after five days.


-        On December 10, 1979, thirteen persons were arrested in Santiago for taking part in a celebration of the thirty-first anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They were held for five days.


-        On February 10, 1980, twenty persons were arrested in Santiago, while taking part in a ceremony to commemorate the death of the popular singer Violeta Parra.


-        On March 8, 1980, one hundred thirty persons were arrested while taking part in a celebration of the International Women’s Day.


-        On April 11, 1980, the leaders of the Workers-Farmers Unity Confederation (CUOC), along with fifteen other persons, were arrested in a law office.


-        On April 28, 1980, over five hundred persons were arrested in Santiago as a result of the crackdown by security personnel following the murder of the “Carabinero” Heriberto Novoa.


-        On May 1, 1980, over five hundred persons were arrested on Labor Day. They were accused of violating the State Security Law.


-        On May 24, 1980, twelve Socialist Party militants were arrested and accused of violating the State Security Law.


-         On June 7, 1980, over two hundred persons were arrested in a raid by police and security forces on the inhabitants of the community of Florida, near Santiago. The raid was conducted to look for anti-social elements and extremist pockets.


-        On June 13, 1980, ninety-eight students of the State Technical University were arrested at a folklore festival held to express their solidarity with students of that university who had been punished. Twenty-two of them were later transferred to a number of locations in Chile.


-        In July 1980, after the murder of Army Lieutenant Colonel Roger Vergara, many persons were arrested. According to complaints received by the IACHR, some of them, like José Miguel Benado and Francis Wilson Broffman, were subjected to physical maltreatment and torture.


          In the opinion of the IACHR, these mass arrests constitute a violation of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, by intimidating and frightening people who were engaged in the free and legitimate exercise of their rights.


          A number of the persons arrested on these occasions have alleged that they were subjected to violent treatment and abuse.


          c)          Prohibition against the return of Chileans to their country


          With regard to the physical liberty of persons, most of the complaints received by the Commission in 1979 concerned Chilean citizens who, by decision of the Government, were denied the right to re-enter their own country, in violation of Article VIII of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man. The Commission did not consider adequate the “national security reasons” alleged by Chilean authorities as the main reason for most of the cases denounced in 1978 and 1979.


          The Government’s attitude on preventing the entry of many Chileans to their country did not change in 1979 and 1980. On the contrary, in 1980, under decrees Nº 78 of February 14, Nº 86 of March 6, Nº 92 of March 7, 1980, 152, 176 and 126 Chileans, respectively, were denied entry into their country.


          A number of these persons filed formal complaints with the Commission, which are being handled in accordance with its Regulations.


          d)          Banishment


          Another method of limiting personal liberty employed by the Chilean Government has been the banishment of persons, under the authority accorded by emergency laws. This repressive method, which was frequently used up to 1977, was not employed in 1978 and 1979. However, early in 1980, the Government used it again as a means of intimidating expressions of opposition.


          In March 1980, seventeen persons were banished to small communities in the North and South of the country because they had taken part in a Women’s Day demonstration on March 8. In May of that year, thirty-seven demonstrators celebrating Labor Day were also banished to isolated localities in Chile.


          The statements of the authorities and subsequent events indicate that the Government intends to continue to use this method of limiting the physical liberty of the regime’s opponents.




          The practice of torture, which had decreased in 1978, unfortunately has been on the rise again in Chile in 1979 and 1980, according to information received by the Commission.


          The Commission has been informed of a number of cases of torture taking place in the facilities of Chilean government agencies. Included among these cases is that of Professor Federico Renato Alvarez Santibáñez, case 4573, who died as a result of mistreatment and torture in the facilities of the National Information Bureau (CNI), according to the description in the section on “Right to Life” of this report.


          In addition, the Commission reiterates the statement made in its previous report that it has no information that the Government of Chile has taken steps to punish those responsible for tortures from 1973 on.




          The Commission notes that in 1979 and 1980, the right to a fair trial and due process continued to be subject to major restrictions, mainly as a result of the active participation of military courts in trying cases affecting certain basic rights and the failure of judges and courts to carry out their duties when they were requested to take action to safeguard the rights of detained or persecuted persons. Some of the powers of the judiciary are not effectively exercised by the courts, who permit, by their passive attitude, various violations, especially those committed by the security agencies against the rights to life, liberty and the security of persons. A significant example in this regard is the case already indicated of Mr. Federico Renato Alvarez Santibáñez, who was arbitrarily arrested and then tortured to death, without the competent organ of the judiciary taking prompt action to correct such abuses, through the writ of habeas corpus that was submitted.




          The situation in the area of freedom of expression and information has not changed from that described in the previous report. Deserving special mention in this connection is maintenance of Edict 122 of November 1978, requiring prior authorization by the Government for establishing, issuing, publishing, circulating and distributing new newspapers, magazines, periodicals and printed material in general.


          The main measures that threaten freedom of expression, thought and information adopted during the period of this report, were the following:


-         Suspension of the magazine “Hoy” for sixty days, in June 1979.


-         Banning the literary and theoretical magazine “CARNETS,” which was sponsored and written by a group of independent intellectuals, who managed to publish only one issue. This publication was banned by the Chief of the State-of-Emergency Zone on October 30, 1979.


          In October 1979, the Chief of the Santiago zone, General Enrique Morel, sent a circular to all printers in the metropolitan area notifying them that they must not print any new publication that is not authorized by the Chief of the State-of-Emergency Zone.


          On May 9, 1980, in enforcing this rule, the chief of the Santiago Emergency Zone banned the magazine “Gente Actual.”


          In addition, in October 1979, a National Congress of the journalists Association met and requested the government to repeal “all legal and administrative rules restricting freedom of expression.”


          The Inter-American Press Association (SIP) described Chile in 1979 as a country that did not have freedom of the press, and the International Press Institute (IPI), headquartered in London, expressed its profound concern at the press restrictions applied in Chile.


          The repressive measures taken in the universities as described in the previous report increased in 1979 and early 1980. In Valparaíso, a number of students were expelled for assembling to pay tribute to Salvador Allende. A number of dissident of student leaders were expelled from various Chilean universities.


          Political repression in the universities was not confined to students. In late 1979 and in early 1980, a “restructuring” was implemented in a number of universities in order to purge professors considered to be independent. According to reports received by the Commission, the main events in this regard were as follows:


          At the Catholic University, seventeen professors were dismissed.


          At the University of Chile, the Director of the Department of Education, Héctor Palma Cavallieri, was dismissed. In the School of Economics, three professors received notice of dismissal.


          At the State Technical University, fourteen professors were dismissed.


          At the University of Concepción, Professor Manuel Sanhueza and others were dismissed. This was a very significant event. Sanhueza, the former Minister of Justice and now President of the group known as “the 24,” which is studying a draft constitution different from that of the Government, had been working for thirty years at the University. He is an internationally known jurist, a professor of the University of Strasbourg, France, and a member of the International Law Academy headquartered in The Hague.


          This step was taken in January 1980 by the new Rector of the University of Concepción, retired Major Guillermo Clericus Echegoyen.




          In 1979, serious limitations continued to be imposed on the rights of assembly and association, based on the state of emergency and other emergency laws.


          These limitations were manifested in a number of fields, as shown by the following events in 1979:


          According to complaints from a number of medical professionals, the Ministry of Health prohibited by an oral order meetings of doctors in hospitals. The prohibition had been orally transmitted to all hospital managements and communicated to physicians in their work places.


          In addition, a meeting of the group known as “the 24,” whose goal, as indicated, was to draw up a draft constitution different from that of the Government, was not authorized.


          Also prohibited was a meeting to establish the “Provincial Command for Defense of Labor Rights,” scheduled for September 1979.


          The Ministry of the Interior refused to establish the “Provincial Command for Defense of Labor Rights,” scheduled for September 1979.


          Meetings held without authorization are habitually harassed, usually very violently, by the police and security forces, and those attending are detained for short periods.


          In the first half of 1980, other meetings of various groups were also prohibited, especially meetings connected with labor and student problems.




          Suspension of political rights in Chile, destruction of voting records, dissolution of political parties and dissolution of a number of neighborhood, union and other organizations, as described in successive reports of the Commission, continued in 1979 and 1980.


          The Political Constitution, adopted in September 1980 continues the suspension of all political rights up to 1989.




          In light of the above events and background information, the Commission is of the opinion that in the period covered by this report there have been violations of the right to life and personal security in Chile.


          The status of other rights embodied in the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, primarily the rights to liberty; a fair trial and due process; freedom of expression of thought and information; the right of assembly and association and political rights, remains the same as in previous years covered by Commission reports, and severe restrictions on their exercise continue.


          Based on these considerations and in order to enable the Government of Chile to take steps to improve the status of human rights, the Commission makes the following recommendations:


          a)      That the necessary measures be taken for prompt and definitive clarification of the status of arrested persons who have disappeared;


          b)      That all exiled Chileans be allowed to return to their country, pursuant to Article VIII of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man;


          c)      That the state of emergency be repealed and the emergency laws amended in order to further the effective enjoyment of the rights to liberty, personal security, a fair trial and due process, freedom of expression of thought and information, and assembly and association;


          d)     That the laws affecting the Mapuche people be amended in order to give greater protection to the rights of that people;


          e)     That the necessary steps be taken to re-establish the representative democratic system which, as the Commission has repeatedly pointed out, contributes significantly to the observance of the human rights embodied in the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man. In that regard, the Commission feels that both the political organization of Chile and the choice of its authorities should result from elections in which Chilean citizens can participate freely and in an informed manner, through a procedure ensuring that the results are a true reflection of popular will.

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1            See documents OEA/Ser.L/V/II.34, doc.21, October 25, 1974; OEA/Ser.L/V/II.37, doc.19, June 28, 1976.

2            See documents OEA/Ser.L/V/II.43, doc.21, April 20, 1978 and OEA/Ser.L/V/II.47, doc.13, June 29, 1979..