The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), the Organización de Transexuales por la Dignidad y las Diversidad (Organization of Transsexuals for Dignity and Diversity; OTD), and 14 other organizations recently submitted a report on Human Rights Violations of LGBT people in Chile to the United Nations Human Rights Committee. The report by the US-based NGO details flaws in the anti-discrimination law, abuse of gay and trans people in society and prisons, and problems relating to the general lack of dignity in the treatment of LGBTI persons.
The UN HRC also closed a dialogue with the Chilean government about the country’s pursuit of its human rights obligations in many areas.
This follows a resolution Chile signed in June at the Organization of American States (OAS) regarding “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity and Expression” in which the government agreed “to condemn all forms of discrimination against persons by reason of their sexual orientation and gender identity or expression”, and to “eliminate, where they exist, barriers faced by lesbians, gays, and bisexual, transsexual, and intersex (LGBTI) persons in equal access to political participation and in other areas of public life, and to avoid interferences in their private life.” The resolution also urged states to adopt legislation to protect LGBTI people from violence, discrimination, and harassment.
In an IGLHRC press release, Director of Programs Marianne Møllmann said that the government of Chile has been cooperative and engaged with LGBT issues. “Throughout the committee’s dialogue with the Chilean government, it was clear that LGBTI issues are not a fringe concern,” she said. “Until our rights are fully protected, Chile’s human rights record will remain blemished.”
Chile has been on front lines of LGBTI legal progress on the continent. In response to the progress needed, the government promised to:
- “Push for amendments to the anti-discrimination law to overcome legal uncertainty and to provide for victims reparations;
- “Support the proposed gender identity law currently before the Chilean Congress;
- “Create a new gender identity area within the police human rights unit;
- “Develop and promote a protocol within the Ministry of Health to ensure that infants born with ambiguous genitals (intersex infants) will not be mutilated; and
- “Develop and promote a protocol within the Ministry of Education to ensure and promote respect for diverse gender identities in all school.”
Director of the OTD, Andrés Ignacio Rivera Duarte, outlined avenues for progress. “We have already developed a protocol on trans diversity in schools for the Ministry of Education, which we have shared with the government,” he said. “We are working on a protocol on respect in treatment of intersex infants that we will be happy to share as well. The moment I am back in Chile, I will reach out to the government to put these commitments on a concrete timeline.”