IACHR Condemns Violent, Xenophobic Acts against Venezuelan Migrants in Iquique, Chile

October 5, 2021

Related links

  • Resolution 4/19": Inter-American Principles on the Human Rights of All Migrants, Refugees, Stateless Persons, and Victims of Trafficking
  • Resolution 2/18:Forced Migration of Venezuelans

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Washington, D.C. — The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemned the violent, xenophobic acts carried out by private individuals against Venezuelan migrants in Iquique, Chile. It also expressed its concern over the eviction of migrants, most of whom were Venezuelan, from public spaces in Iquique. The eviction allegedly entailed acts of violence, and the migrants were not offered a relocation solution first. In response, the IACHR called on the State to protect migrants, investigate the facts with due diligence, adopt urgent measures to provide reparation for the victims, and prevent such events from occurring again.

According to public information, on September 24, 2021, the police conducted a massive eviction of approximately 100 migrants from Plaza Brasil in Iquique. Most of those evicted were of Venezuelan origin, and among them were families with children. According to the information available, there were clashes between the police force and migrants, some of whom were beaten. The IACHR also notes that the police were ordered to remove the migrants from public spaces, but not to relocate them to other sites, which has allegedly resulted in their being left without anywhere to go.

The IACHR also learned of xenophobic acts that occurred in Iquique on September 25 when groups taking part in an "anti-migrant" demonstration set fire to the tents and belongings of Venezuelan migrant families. The police did not intervene to prevent these events. However, later that day, the Prosecutor's Office of Tarapacá Region instructed the Investigative Police Force (PDI) to investigate these events and ordered protective measures for the victims. The IACHR also took note of the statements made by Rodrigo Delgado, Vice President of Chile and Minister of the Interior, in which he condemned the acts of xenophobia that took place in Iquique.

Likewise, the IACHR learned of the government announcement on September 29 regarding the adoption of new humanitarian measures for migrants, which include the establishment of reception centers for children, adolescents, and their families in Colchane and Iquique. Specifically, the State has reported on cooperation with international agencies, including UNICEF and the IOM, and is strengthening its work with civil society through organizations such as the Jesuit Migrant Service, Hogar de Cristo, and World Vision.

Through its different monitoring mechanisms, the IACHR has been following up on a variety of acts stigmatizing and discriminating against Venezuelans in different countries in the region, including Chile. On this point, according to the Inter-American Principles on the Human Rights of All Migrants, Refugees, Stateless Persons, and Victims of Trafficking, States must guarantee the human rights of migrants, regardless of their migration status, and implement measures to prevent and combat the stigmatization of them.

With specific regard to Venezuelan migrants, in its Resolution on the Forced Migration of Venezuelans, the IACHR called on States to implement positive measures such as education and awareness-raising campaigns seeking to promote multicultural societies, in order to prevent and eradicate discrimination and xenophobia.

In this regard, the IACHR urged Chile to continue adopting measures to prevent and eliminate xenophobic practices. Likewise, the State must act with due diligence to prevent human rights violations, investigate these, prosecute those responsible, and provide reparation for victims.

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 a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 263/21

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