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  • Police officers arrest a demonstrator, Chile, 2019.

    Police officers arrest a demonstrator, Chile, 2019. | Photo: Twitter/ @inddhh

Published 4 January 2021
Opinion

About 2,520 complaints were filed against state agents for human rights violations following the social unrest in October 2019.

Chile's President Sebastian Piñera Sunday signed a bill that seeks to implement a new institutional framework to strengthen victims' access to justice in case of human rights violations. 

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The project creates the National Service for Access to Justice (SNAJ) and an Ombudsman's Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), thus unifying other existing legal defense public organizations and specialized aid programs such as  "My Lawyer" (for children and adolescents), the Integral Defense of the Elderly, and the Victim Support Program.

Besides offering legal support, the OVC plans to provide psychological and social assistance but with a special focus on victims of crimes against life, physical or psychological integrity, freedom, and sexual integrity.

A National Council on Access to Justice made up of authorities, representatives of the academic world, and civil society will be also created in order to set working guidelines on the matter. 

Justice Interior Under-Secretary Sebastian Valenzuela noted that the bill will standardize and professionalize the care and legal representation of victims, especially in areas such as employment (dismissals), family (alimony), civil (rental contracts), and criminal (victims of crime).

According to the National Institute of Human Rights (INDH), 2,520 complaints were filed against state agents for human rights violations following the social unrest in October 2019.

The Ocular Trauma Victims Coordinator (OTVC) also reported that over 400 people had their eyes amputated or damaged due to police brutality. 

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