ON THE STATUS OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN CHILE
of “on the spot” Observations in
TO LEAVE THE TERRITORY OF THE COUNTRY
TO REMAIN IN IT. RIGHT OF ASYLUM
Despite some initial difficulties, the problem of persons resident in
Chile leaving the country has almost been resolved. The Representatives of the
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees deserves praise for the effective
manner they have organized, in cooperation with the Government of Chile, the
establishment and operation of the National Committee for Aid to Refugees, in
order to attain that result. The Government of Chile has granted safe-conduct to
all foreigners and almost all Chileans who had taken refuge in the diplomatic
missions in Santiago.
The Government of Chile had granted 4.949 safe conducts for aliens
from September 11, 1973 to mid-July 1974. This number of 4.949 is broken down
into 2.872 regular safe-conducts, 627 expulsion safe-conducts, and 1.450
courtesy safe-conducts for members of families (persons receiving expulsion
safe-conducts are prohibited from returning to reside in Chile). The 2.872
principal safe-conducts granted to aliens are divided into 1.124 regular
safe-conducts requested by diplomatic missions for aliens who have taken asylum
in the missions, and 1.748 regular safe-conducts requested by the Representative
of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (through the National
Committee for Aid to Refugees). The Minister of Foreign Affairs has supplied for
the Commission's use a complete list of all persons to whom the Ministry had
granted regular and expulsion safe-conducts.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also supplied a statistical
compilation of the various kinds of safe-conducts awarded up to July 25, 1974.
In addition, 484 aliens who did not have their papers in order received
permission to reside in Chile, with the aid of the Representative of the United
Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
At the same time, the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs had granted
2.945 safe-conducts for Chileans who had taken refuge in diplomatic
missions in Santiago, and 547 courtesy safe-conducts for members of the families
of those persons.
Some 20 aliens were still in prison in Chile, on August 2, 1974,
classified as political prisoners. Some of these “aliens” have dual
citizenship, that is to say, Chilean citizenship and another citizenship also.
Most of them have lived in Chile for many years, some as experts or employees in
There was no alien in asylum in the diplomatic missions in
Santiago, and there were only 9 Chileans in asylum, all in the Italian
Embassy. The Government of Italy had not regularized the status of their
diplomatic representation. In addition, the Government of Chile did not wish to
grant safe-conducts to 9 persons, until the Government of Italy regularized the
situation of their diplomatic representation in Santiago. The Chilean Government
stated that it had specific charges against the 9 persons, but, despite that, it
had clearly indicated that it will grant the safe-conducts when the Government
of Italy has regularized their diplomatic representation.
The Government of Chile has granted 133 safe-conducts for the departure
of Chileans against whom it considers it has sufficiently serious specific
charges to warrant the requests it has submitted for extradition of such persons
from the governments of the countries where they are now residing. On August 2,
1974, the Government of Chile had received replies relating to six of these
requests for extradition, all of them denying the requests: three from the
Government of Mexico, one from the Government of Argentina, and one from the
Government of Sweden.
The deaths of approximately 25 aliens during the acts of violence that
accompanied the change of government have been verified, and 32 other aliens
have disappeared. It is probable that some of these disappeared persons have
died. But it is also possible that some of them crossed the border without
complying with the necessary formalities in the first days of violence.
It is said in Santiago that many Chileans had made preparations for
rapidly leaving the country with false documents, under assumed names. It is
also possible that some foreigners who took part in political activities had
similar documents. But it seems improbable that the total number of persons who
crossed the borders with false documents was over 200 or 300.
Shortly after the change of government in September, 1973, the regional
representative of the High Commissioner arrived in Santiago and requested the
cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the new Government of Chile.
To that end, the Government of Chile issued Decree Nº 1308 of October 3, 1973,
establishing a National Committee for Aid to Refugees.
The National Committee established six refugee houses with United Nations
Emergency Funds and—in the beginning—with voluntary personnel. The refugee
houses have enjoyed almost the same inviolability as diplomatic missions.
According to the provisions of Decree Nº 1308, the Chilean Government reserves
the right to request that persons in the refugee houses be turned over to it in
the event that it has specific charges against them, The Government has
exercised this right in only three cases.
The voluntary workers in the beginning: (a) registered aliens who wished
aid; (b) aided in the search for aliens who had disappeared; (c) organized a
health service for persons entering the refugee houses; (d) aided persons in
difficulties because of the loss of employment; and (e) maintained and
administered the six refugee houses. The National Committee requested
safe-conducts, while the office of the High Commissioner searched for countries
that would take in persons of various nationalities who wished to leave and who
could not return to their own countries because of the political situation.
After having aided 1.748 aliens to leave Chile, finding countries to
offer them hospitality and obtaining safe-conducts for them, plus courtesy
safe-conducts for about 725 family members and expulsion safe-conducts for over
300 aliens as well as permits to maintain residence in Chile for some 480 aliens
without their papers in order, the representatives of the High Commissioner
began the project of helping several thousand families of persons who had
abandoned the country to leave Chile. Most of these family members are Chileans.
The operations of the High Commissioner and the National Committee were
financed by the United Nations Emergency Fund up to February 28, 1974. Since
that date, the operations have depended on voluntary contributions of United
Nations member countries.
The religious organizations in Chile have performed important functions
in the work of the National Committee, by recruiting voluntary staff members.
The Committee has used professionals for tasks requiring such services. The
Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Committee for Aid to Refugees
is the Chilean Lutheran Bishop, Dr. Helmut Frenz, who is also the Vice Chairman
of the Peace Committee, an international organization that is promoting
reconciliation between the classes and parties in Chile. The President of the
Peace Committee is Cardinal Henríquez. The representative of the High
Commissioner in Chile is Daniel S. Blanchard.
Remaining in the refugee houses of the National Committee for Aid to
Refugees (under the protection of the representative of the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees) are some 150 aliens, of whom 100 desire to leave
Chile when the High Commissioner obtains permission from other countries to take
them in, while 40 of these persons have requested permission to remain in Chile,
The nationalities of the aliens who had left Chile since September
11, 1973, are, in descending order:
The countries that have accepted the largest number of aliens and Chileans
who have left Chile are: