INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION VISITS CHILE
Washington, D.C., November 26, 2009—The Rapporteur on the Rights of the Child of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, today ended a two-day visit to Chile. The purpose of the visit, made at the invitation of the Chile Network of Childhood and Youth NGOs with support from UNICEF, was to promote the IACHR’s Report on Corporal Punishment and Human Rights of Children and Adolescents.
In the report, the IACHR indicates that the use of corporal punishment to discipline children and adolescents—whether it is imposed by agents of the State or with the State’s consent or tolerance—constitutes a form of violence against children that violates their dignity and thus their human rights. The report concludes that the States have the obligation to ensure special protections for children and adolescents against the use of corporal punishment, and recommends that the States take concrete actions to prevent and respond to this form of violence, in order to make integral progress in the protection of children’s human rights.
On November 23, Rapporteur Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro made a presentation of the book at the University of the Frontier, in the city of Tamuco. He also met there with the president of that institution and with representatives of the Citizens Observatory, the Ethical Commission against Torture, and the Network of Childhood and Youth NGOs.
On November 24, the Rapporteur presented the report at a colloquium held at the Law School of Andrés Bello University, in Santiago. Speakers at the event included Marta Mauras, a member of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, a treaty body of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child; Jorge Freyre, general coordinator of the Latin American and Caribbean Network for the Defense of the Rights of Children and Adolescents; and Eugenio San Martín, director of Chile’s National Service for Minors (SENAME).
In the Chilean capital, Rapporteur Pinheiro also met with Gary Stahl, UNICEF’s representative in Chile, and participated in the borough of Lo Prado’s launch of a book called Violence Hurts Families (La violencia le hace mal a la familia), published by the Chilean government’s Solidarity and Social Investment Fund (FOSIS) and UNICEF.
In addition, the Rapporteur was received by the Minister Secretary General of the Presidency and the Minister Coordinator of Indigenous Affairs, to whom he presented the Report on Corporal Punishment. The latter official briefed the Rapporteur about various aspects having to do with the coordination of indigenous affairs in Chile, and the Rapporteur in turn shared information received by the Commission and by the Rapporteur during his visit on acts of violence allegedly involving children and adolescents in the Araucanía region between June 2008 and October 2009. The Rapporteur emphasized that it is important for the Chilean government to guarantee the protection of the rights of indigenous mapuche children and adolescents in that region, independently of any situations of tension that may exist. The IACHR will continue to monitor this situation.
A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has the mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this matter. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who act in a personal capacity, without representing a particular country, and who are elected by the OAS General Assembly.
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