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News > Chile

Chile: Most Vulnerable Victims of State Violence are Minors

  • Student is detained by police during a protest against Sebastian Piñera's administration in Santiago, Chile Nov. 20, 2019.

    Student is detained by police during a protest against Sebastian Piñera's administration in Santiago, Chile Nov. 20, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 21 November 2019

At least 327 children and adolescents have been victims of different forms of state terrorism.

From October 18 to November 15, Chile's military police (Carabineros) violated the human rights of at least 327 children and adolescents. They physically hit 118 children, wounded 48 with pellets and shot at 11 with bullets, as Ombudsman for Children Patricia Muñoz reported on Wednesday.


Chile: Thousands Take to Streets to Mark One Month of Protests

As a reaction to this situation, she decided not to celebrate Universal Children's Day on November 20, a holiday that marked the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

"There is nothing to celebrate. Our work has been focused on children who have been victims of beatings, torture, sexual abuse, insults, discredit, and permanent criminalization," Muñoz said.

"These facts constitute unacceptable violence in democracy."

The criminal complaints analyzed so far show that President Sebastian Piñera's administration has breached basic rules for the protection of children and adolescents.

“We have a police force that is allowed to break the protocols and shoot guns in circumstances which do not merit it. It also doesn't even know what kind of ammunition is firing, which demonstrates the imperative need to have a different police force,” Muñoz stressed.

As a result of reckless and indiscriminate repression, at least 11 children were injured by bullets in “everyday contexts”, which means that they were not even participating in demonstrations.

This was, for instance, the case of two under-10-year-old children who were shot by Carabineros while they were in a service center.

WATCH ONLY 40 SECONDS AND THEN GIVE YOUR OPINION!! This happened on the corner of Chacabuco and Simon Bolivar, in Valparaiso, Chile, at 8:08 pm on November 14, 2019. 

“Prosecutor's Office formalized charges against three military policemen. They are in pretrial detention accused of frustrated homicide, illegitimate constraints, and public documents falsification,” Muñoz said, adding that officers mistreated the minors after shooting them.

"They also falsified the report so that the Prosecutor believed otherwise."

Another case that demonstrates police brutality occurred in Ovalle, where a 17-year-old autistic teenager was arrested when he tried to take a bus to go home.

“The victim reported that he was thrown on the floor and kicked in his head and back. Then he was taken to the police station where he was undressed,” local outlet El Disconcierto recalled.

“Another example… in the Cerro Navia commune, a military police patrol shot at a car in which a woman, her two nephews, and her 9-year-old daughter were traveling. One of the bullets hit her daughter who was hugging her cousin, a 10-year-old boy who was shot in his lung.”

"Urgent: right now on the outskirts of Adolfo Ibañez University in Peñalolen. Help!"

The report submitted by the Ombudsman for Children provides details of dozens of human rights violation cases, which mainstream media simply do not report.

In the early morning of Oct. 30, a 16-year-old boy was riding his bicycle through the Conception commune when military policemen, who yelled at him and insulted him from their car, asked him to stop. Frightened by their threats, the boy began to stop slowly.

“Assuming he wanted to get away, policemen used the vehicle door to throw him to the floor... he got up quickly and tried to run. However, as soon as he made a stride, he heard 'stop or we'll shoot you!'."

The boy raised his hands and asked what he had done. The only response he received was a punch in his head, which knocked him down.

The police uploaded him into the vehicle, where he was physically and verbally mistreated for several minutes. When they realized that he was a minor, they released the boy by throwing him out.

Later the boy's mother filed a formal complaint with the military police authorities. Hours later, however, she received a call threatening her and asking her to withdraw the complaint.

Independent outlet El Desconcierto asked the Police for their version of what happened; "however, they refused to give statements about it.”

In the front line are those who put a shield between the police shotguns and the eyes of the Chileans. Sometimes their bodies are the shield. How many people still have their eyes thanks to them? No one knows yet how much Chile owes them. And nobody knows what will be our debt to them... because the fight is not over.

On Wednesday, Amnesty International also published a special report which holds that Chilean police and soldiers have carried out "generalized" attacks on people protesting with the intention of "punishing and harming" them.

This South American country has seen a month of protests that started over anger at a hike in public transport fares and broadened to include grievances over low pensions and salaries, the high cost of living, and security force abuses.

Social unrest against Piñera's neoliberal agenda has left 23 dead, 7,000 detained, and over 2,000 citizens hospitalized.

At least 217 persons have lost partial or total vision from one or both eyes, a disability caused by police shootings with rubber bullets, which were later proven not to be harmless.

Currently, prosecutors are examining more than 2,000 allegations of abuses by security forces,

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