Chile: the Boric Government takes a first step in its search plan for the disappeared

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The Chilean Minister of Justice named this Thursday the actors called to participate in the plan to search for missing persons in the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, scheduled to begin in 2023 and that will include the participation of relatives and associations of victims.

The Government of Chile began to move the chips for what has become one of the central promises of the Government of Gabriel Boric: find the whereabouts of almost 1,200 disappeared during the Pinochet dictatorship.

This Thursday, the Chilean Minister of Justice, Marcela Ríos, in charge of the initiative, indicated in a ceremony that took place at the Gabriela Mistral Museum of Education, in downtown Santiago, that the plan will be carried out in conjunction with family members and groups of victims of the dictatorship.

Civil society and “all ministries and institutions” will also have to be “at the service of this work,” said the head of this portfolio, before representatives of memory and human rights organizations, also called to participate.

SANTIAGO (CHILE), 08/30/2022.- The Minister of Justice and Human Rights of Chile, Marcela Ríos, speaks today with the press during the presentation of 17 complaints by victims of the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990), in the Palace of the Courts of Justice in Santiago (Chile). The Government of Gabriel Boric presented this Tuesday, the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, 17 complaints by 25 victims of the Pinochet dictatorship. These are cases on which no legal action had been taken to date. © Alberto Valdés/EFE

“Beyond the fact that the perpetrators of crimes do not want to talk, there are many institutions that can collaborate and, as a State, we have debts and pending tasks, from the Legal Medical Service, to fiscal institutions or the Judicial Power,” the minister resolved.

“If we have to take it easy, we will take it”

Despite the fact that the Executive expects to have the design of the plan ready by the end of the year, the Undersecretary for Human Rights, Haydee Oberreuter, assured that “there is a prefigured mandate from the organizations that are interested in things being done well and if take it easy, we’re going to take it,” he said.

On June 1, the president of the South American country, Gabriel Boric, promised to “continue to search tirelessly” for the disappeared detainees. Indeed, Ríos stated that the initiative reiterates the “government’s commitment” to the victims.

Chile lived under the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet for 17 years. In that period of time, more than 40,000 people were victims of his mandate, including executions, arrests and forced disappearances, political imprisonment and torture, according to the official commission that was in charge of collecting the data.

SANTIAGO (CHILE), 09/16/2022.- A woman walks in front of a mural in honor of the disappeared detainees during the dictatorship, on Tuesday, September 13, 2022, in Santiago (Chile). The results of the constitutional plebiscite of September 4 left an overwhelming victory of almost 62% of the votes of the "Rejection", practically without exceptions: only eight in eight of the 346 communes in the country approved the proposal for a new Constitution. Outside the island territory, where the best results were recorded for
SANTIAGO (CHILE), 09/16/2022.- A woman walks in front of a mural in honor of the disappeared detainees during the dictatorship, on Tuesday, September 13, 2022, in Santiago (Chile). The results of the constitutional plebiscite of September 4 left an overwhelming victory of almost 62% of the “Rejection” votes, practically without exceptions: only eight in eight of the 346 communes in the country approved the proposal for a new Constitution. Outside the island territory, where the best results were recorded for “Approve”, Pedro Aguirre Cerda is the commune that obtained the highest percentage, with 54.9% of the votes. The rejection remained with 45.1%. © Elvis Gonzalez/EFE

The same source estimates that more than 3,200 Chileans died at the hands of state agents and 1,159 people were victims of forced disappearance during the dictatorship.

What advances are foreseen for the coming months?

Boric outlined in June the measures he intends to apply to carry out the proposal of the Ministry of Justice.

Among them, extending the campaign ‘A drop of blood for truth and Justice’, which will consist of taking blood samples in the country to complete genetic databases.

It is also intended to evaluate the information that has been collected in previous search programs, in order to optimize the work of the new project, which is expected to be carried out through the use of new identification technologies.

In addition, he wants to convene a work table that brings together all those involved in the plan.

Finally, the Human Rights Program Unit and the Human Rights Unit of the Legal Medical Service will be strengthened, with the inclusion of more professional personnel capable of carrying out an administrative search policy.

With EFE and local media

Chile: the Boric Government takes a first step in its search plan for the disappeared