Human Rights International Project
The Human Rights International Project was established to work for human rights and against impunity in Chile. An NGO initially established by Chileans refugees and human right activists in London, today it counts with the participation of helpers from across the world. Central to the work of the Human Rights International Project is the process of gathering, archiving and making available all information concerning human rights violations during the military dictatorship in Chile; to support the prosecution of human right violators; to develop, by means of national and international projects, awareness about human rights, and to work for the rescue of the historical memory and the remembrance of the victims.
Historical Perspective: The military, lead by General Augusto Pinochet, overthrew the democratically elected government of Chile in 1973 and imposed a military dictatorship, which lasted until 1990. Thousands of people were killed and “disappeared”; hundreds of thousands more were persecuted and tortured for opposing his brutal regime. The power of Pinochet’s security forces, through Operation Condor, in coordination with other military dictatorships in the region expanded their rule of terror across continents. Pinochet stepped down from power in 1990 but not before appointing himself Senator for Life, a position that retains not only power but also immunity from prosecution. Today, after more than 25 years there are still more than one thousand people disappeared in Chile.
Institutionalised impunity has been established in many South American countries after civilian governments have taken over, including Chile. If this process is not reversed the “culture of impunity” will be perpetuated across the continent, compromising fundamental human rights and undermining democracy.
The detention of General Pinochet in London became a milestone in the struggle for human rights and justice. The central issue was always whether one person, irrespective of his politics or position of power, can be made answerable for his crimes. However, the British Government gave way to pressures and allowed the ex-Dictator to return to Chile, where thanks to the indefatigable work of the victims and their relatives and human right lawyers together with international pressure, the Chilean Courts finally stripped him of his immunity. Despite the fact that he is today being prosecuted for tax evasions and fraud, Pinochet is yet to be prosecuted for human right violations.
The arrest of Pinochet in London sent a clear signal to the world that a new era of human rights enforcement is within reach. There is, however, much still to be done if we are to bring to justice all those involved in human right violations in Chile, Latin America and around the world. With this purpose in mind and to ensure that these crimes can never be committed again, individuals who have been actively involved in human rights work, have come together to work for human rights and to put an end to impunity
Our main programmes are:
· Action for Human Rights
Ø The implementation of local actions and the establishment of a transcontinental network of communication to campaign against Human Rights abuses in Chile and Latin America.
· Memoria Viva (in Spanish/English)
Ø A Resource Centre that documents human rights violations during the Chilean military dictatorship with a particular focus on disappeared and executed political prisoners.
Ø A website that collate and make globally available information on human rights violations and human rights abusers with the aim of bringing the latter to justice, either in Chile or the international courts.
Ø Topical and thematic publications, workshops and Internet web pages and discussion groups on human rights.
· Humans Rights Bulletin - Chile (in Spanish)
Ø Provide up-to-date information on Human Rights issues in Chile by means of a free electronic newsletter produced fortnightly.
· Initiative 503 (in Spanish)
Ø To document the 503 days that Pinochet spent under arrest in London and the lessons learned from this, by means of essays, analysis and personal accounts.
· Eco-Memoria (in Spanish/English)
Ø The creation of a “living memorial”, in the form of a forest of native trees, in remembrance of all the victims of the Chilean dictatorship.
TRUTH AND JUSTICE
NO TO IMPUNITY
For further information and full documentation of this and related projects please contact
The Human Rights International Project
PO BOX 32776 - London SE1 1AX - UK
Estas paginas han sido preparadas y son mantenidas por: Proyecto Internacional de Derechos Humanos - Londres © 1996 - 2015