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Minister Antonia Urrejola highlights Chile's commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights at the 52nd session of the Human Rights Council

Monday, February 27th 2023

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Antonia Urrejola, spoke today at the High Level Segment of the 52nd Session of the Human Rights Council at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. This is the fourth time that Chile holds a seat as a member of this UN body, after obtaining the first regional majority in the elections of October last year.

She stressed that for Chile this is the main space for cooperation, dialogue and consensus on human rights in the United Nations. "We defend the need for a multilateral order that recognises the profound interrelationship between the dimensions of peace and security, democracy and participation, sustainable development and inclusion, and human rights as the central axis of our country's international action," she said.

The Foreign Affairs Minister pointed out that Chile's commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights also stems from the lessons of the country's own history. In this regard, she pointed out that 2023 marks the 50th anniversary of the coup d'état that overthrew the government of President Salvador Allende and installed a dictatorial regime.

In this regard, she recalled that, during the dictatorship, "international cooperation and the accompaniment of international organisations were essential to assist nationals in situations of need, as well as to press for the restoration of democracy. During the transition, this support was very important to strengthen our democratic and human rights institutions, which at that time were still very fragile".

In addition, she stressed that more than three decades after the recovery of democracy in Chile, the government of President Gabriel Boric has made the protection of human rights a central pillar of its government programme. For this reason, the National Search Plan is currently being promoted, a public policy that aims to advance in the search for victims of forced disappearance during the dictatorship.

The Minister added that the government is also adopting measures to address the many current challenges arising from recent situations of social conflict in our country. "Proof of this is the establishment of the Bureau of Integral Reparation for victims of human rights violations during the social upheaval, which is currently in operation," she said.

Priorities in the Council

In her speech, the Minister also referred to Chile's priorities during its Council period, which will run until 2025. In this regard, she assured that the Government has set out to promote a Feminist Foreign Policy, which will ensure "the integration of the gender perspective and the protection of the rights of women and girls in all their diversity, especially with regard to the eradication of gender violence in all its dimensions".

At the same time, she indicated that "the defence and promotion of the human rights of LGBTIQ+ people is also an objective of our foreign policy that we will seek to reflect in our work in this forum". 

The Foreign Affairs Minister also stated that Chile has launched a Turquoise Foreign Policy, "which integrates actions to respond to the triple crisis of climate, biodiversity loss and global pollution, with a focus on just transition and sustainable and inclusive development". In this regard, he stressed that one of the first measures adopted by the government was to adhere to the Escazú Agreement, which, among other things, provides special protection for environmental defenders".

In addition, she pointed out that it is important for Chile to pay more attention to guaranteeing the enjoyment and exercise of economic, social, cultural and environmental rights. "Its guarantee constitutes an indispensable element for the consolidation of democracies and the rule of law and for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Common Agenda of the Secretary General of the United Nations", she said.
Finally, the Minister indicated that other emerging issues that will be part of Chile's priorities in the Human Rights Council are the debate on business and human rights, with particular emphasis on due diligence obligations; the risks posed by disinformation and hate speech for our democracies and the rule of law; the challenges posed by the climate emergency and, equally, human mobility crises; as well as the impact of new technologies on human rights.