Chile: Growing Threats to Human and Trade Union Rights

published 17 February 2020 updated 20 February 2020

The human and trade union rights crisis in Chile is deepening, with education leaders targeted with impunity by state authorities.

Education International (EI) and its Latin America regional office (EILA) condemn the acts of espionage and harassment against three social, labour and trade union leaders in Chile, including Mario Aguilar, President of the Colegio de Profesores de Chile, a member organisation of EI.

The recent hacking of government pages revealed information to the media about espionage activities by the Carabineros de Chile, the police force that forms part of the Chilean law enforcement and security forces. The leaked information contained details of the surveillance to which three social and union leaders have been subjected, including defining them as “targets of interest” and creating “intelligence files” on them, the contents of which have not been disclosed at present.

Mr Aguilar has publicly expressed his concern over this surveillance within the framework of a democratic state governed by the rule of law. Education International Latin America has referred to this surveillance within the current political context of Chile as increasingly resembling “a dictatorship, persecuting and showing hostility to those who claim their rights”. For their part, EI has expressed great concern about threats to human and trade union rights as set out in numerous international conventions.

Those facing harassment have filed an appeal for protection with the Chilean Supreme Court, but this has been rejected, which is of great concern to trade unions, who are considering taking the complaint to international bodies.