Chile: New decree to regulate the use of force by Carabineros is insufficient to comply with the obligations of the case of Alex Lemún


Washington, D.C. - Tuesday, December 4th, 2018: The publication of a decree establishing guidelines on the use of force by Carabineros and ordering the updating and revision of its internal protocols represents an important step forward in the commitments taken in result of Alex Lemún's case. However, the decree does not reflect all the fundamental international principles and standards in the matter, and should be updated with the participation of civil society as well as other structural measures to guarantee its implementation and ensure its fulfillment to the obligations of the State.

Today, these concerns were expressed by CEJIL in Washington D.C. at the working meeting held with representatives of the Chilean State and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), within the framework of its 170 Period of Sessions. The reason for the meeting was to review the State's compliance with the reparations promised in the case of young Mapuche, Alex Lemún Saavedra, who was shot from behind and in the head, and killed by a Carabinero during a peaceful protest in 2002.

"While we celebrate the approval of these regulations, in order for the State to comply with what was agreed upon with the family of Alex Lemún, it is necessary to open a review process with civil society and the INDH to ensure that it attains international standards and specific contexts in Chile, a matter that has not been fulfilled by the State so far, since we learned of the publication of this Decree by the press and hours before the working meeting with the IACHR,” said María Noel Leoni, Director of the Southern Cone and Bolivia Program of the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), an organization that represented the Lemún family before the Inter-American System.

The State reported at the meeting that it will present a work plan in the coming weeks to carry out this directive. “We hope to receive this information and that a participatory process is opened, which also relates to the implementation of other necessary measures to stop these events from happening, including effective training, adequate internal controls with processes and sanctions, guarantees of access to justice, and public policies that guarantee the rights of indigenous peoples and their ancestral claims,” added María Noel Leoni.

The meeting was marked by the recent death of the young Mapuche, Camilo Catrillanca, whose case clearly proves that the State has failed to implement necessary measures so that Carabineros do not inflict abuse through force. "The approval of this legislation a day before the death of Camilo Catrillanca shows that the State's delay in fulfilling its obligations has very serious consequences for the life and integrity of Mapuche people," added María Noel Leoni. “They not only need to comply with the regulation to international standards, but also ensure its implementation within structural measures that address the demilitarization of La Araucanía”.