Chile president OKs human rights deputy

Jan. 31, 2012 at 10:18 AM
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SANTIAGO, Chile, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- A new undersecretary of human rights position would be created in Chile under a bill signed by President Sebastian Pinera.

If the measure wins approval from Congress, the Ministry of Justice would become the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights and the new undersecretary would report to the minister of justice and human rights, The Santiago Times reported.

"For the first time, Chile will have an authority responsible for leading all efforts by the government now scattered in different departments, relating to the protection of human rights," Pinera said.

The undersecretary would also handle past human rights violations, particularly those dating to the 1973-1990 dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet, with emphasis on compensation of victims.

"This new institutional framework is a clear demonstration of the commitment by the government and this presidency to create a culture of respect and protection of human rights," Pinera said.

The undersecretary also would represent Chile in international courts dealing with human rights such as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights when Chile is required to appear; work with the justice minister on studies on human rights within Chile; and head promotional campaigns to increase awareness of human rights.

The measure signed by Pinera also would create an inter-ministry Committee of Human Rights to handle human rights matters.

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