Mounting Evidence of Abuse by Chile’s Police Leads to Calls for Reform ~ NYT

Human rights monitors accuse the police of torture, sexual violence and other abuse, drawing scrutiny to Chile’s scandal-plagued national force.

Credit…Tomas Munita for The New York Times





SANTIAGO, Chile — The brutality of the Chilean police’s response to the country’s unrest is leading to sweeping calls for the force’s reform.

The protests, which started two months ago over an increase in subway fares and quickly morphed into a broader reckoning over inequality, included peaceful gatherings and violent confrontations with the police that resulted in thousands of instances of abuse, according to the National Institute for Human Rights, an autonomous state agency.

Almost 400 of the incidents documented by the National Institute for Human Rights are of torture and cruel treatment. Another 194 involve sexual violence, including four rapes. More than 800 involve excessive use of force by the police. The Institute has labeled at least six killings by security forces as homicides.

These documented instances of human rights violations have brought new scrutiny to the Carabineros, Chile’s national police force, which was never purged or significantly reformed after the dictatorship headed by Gen. Augusto Pinochet ended in 1990. The Carabineros were deeply involved in human rights violations that left over 3,000 dead and disappeared and 38,000 tortured during Pinochet’s rule.

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