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UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
Chile (CEDAW 14-03-2018)
The Committee considered the seventh periodic report of Chile (CEDAW/C/CHL/7) at its 1574th and 1575th meetings (see CEDAW/C/SR.1574 and
CEDAW/C/SR.1575), held on 21 February 2018. The Committee’s list of issues and questions is contained in CEDAW/C/CHL/Q/7 and the responses of Chile are contained in CEDAW/C/CHL/Q/7/Add.1.
D. Principal areas of concern and recommendations
Legislative framework and definition of discrimination against women
- The Committee commends the State party on its adoption of key legislation aimed at promoting substantive equality between women and men. It notes with concern, however, that:
(a) Act No. 20.609 (2012) on discrimination continues to be limitedin scope and fails to include a comprehensive definition of discrimination against women;
(b) The lack of implementation of Act No. 20.609 and the absence of a judicial mechanism to adjudicate cases of discrimination against women have resulted in low prosecution rates (between 2012 and 2016 only 3 per cent of cases tried under the Act were related to discrimination);
(c) The draft law (bill No. 8924-07) on gender identity, with amendments, remains pending;
(d) Insufficient legal protection has resulted in an increase in the number of cases of discrimination against lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and intersex persons.
- In accordance with the State party’s obligations under the Convention and in line with target 5.1 of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Committee reiterates its previous concluding observations (CEDAW/C/CHL/CO/5-6, para. 11) and recommends that the State party:
(a) Adopt, as a matter of priority, a comprehensive legal definition of all forms of discrimination against women, covering direct, indirect and intersecting forms of discrimination in the public and private spheres, and establish, in its Constitution or other legislation, the principle of formal and substantive equality between women and men, in accordance with article 2 (a) of the Convention;
(b) Establish a judicial complaint mechanism to deal specifically with cases of discrimination against women and ensure that adequate human, financial and technical resources are allocated for its implementation, including the provision of training for the judiciary on the adjudication of such cases;
(c) Adopt the draft law on gender identity with the proposed amendments;
(d) Provide in-depth training for the judiciary and other State authorities to address the discrimination and violations of rights experienced by lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and intersex persons.
Access to justice
- The Committee welcomes the establishment of the Technical Secretariat for Gender Equity and Non-Discrimination in the Supreme Court, along with the policies aimed at promoting access to justice for disadvantaged women. It is concerned, however, about the institutional, procedural and practical barriers faced by women in gaining access to justice, such as:
(a) Discriminatory stereotypes, judicial bias and limited knowledge of women’s rights among the judiciary, legal practitioners and law enforcement officers, including the police;
(b) Multiple barriers, including financial, linguistic and geographic, facing women with low incomes, rural women, indigenous women and women with disabilities in obtaining access to justice;
(c) Reports of threats against indigenous women by law enforcement officers and representatives of the judiciary and cases of reprisals in response to attempts by such women to collectively claim access to their lands;
(d) Discriminatory barriers faced by lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and intersex persons when accessing the justice system;
- In accordance with its general recommendation No. 33 (2015) on women’s access to justice, the Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Further extend systematic and mandatory capacity-building on women’s rights, gender-sensitive investigations, the encouragement of reporting and the avoidance of revictimization for magistrates, judges, prosecutors, public defenders, lawyers, law enforcement officers, administrators, mediators and expert practitioners;
(b) Ensure that information on legal remedies is available to women who are victims of gender-based violence, including in indigenous languages and in formats accessible to women with disabilities, and introduce a system of mobile courts and free legal aid to facilitate access to justice for women living in rural and remote areas;
(c) Introduce systematic training for the judiciary and law enforcement officers on the rights of indigenous women and guarantee the right of the latter to obtain access to justice without fear of reprisal;
(d) Establish processes to eliminate discriminatory rulings and practices against lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and intersex persons in the justice system;
(e) Ensure that victims of discrimination and gender-based violence have access to timely and effective remedies, including restitution, compensation or rehabilitation, encourage women to report incidents of gender-based violence, including domestic violence, and ensure that all cases of violence against women are properly investigated and perpetrators duly prosecuted.
20. The Committee welcomes the legislative and other measures taken to address discriminatory stereotypes in the State party, including the continued efforts to promote equality between mothers and fathers in child-rearing duties. Nevertheless, it remains concerned that persistent discriminatory stereotypes about the roles and responsibilities of women and men in the family and in society, along with intersecting forms of discrimination and the deep-rooted machismo culture in the State party, continue to impede progress in advancing gender equality. It further notes
with concern that certain groups of women do not enjoy full respect of their rights, owing to insufficient special protective measures.
21. The Committee reiterates its previous concluding observations (see CEDAW/C/CHL/CO/5-6, para. 17) and recommends that the State party adopt a comprehensive strategy targeting women, men, girls and boys to overcome machismo culture and the discriminatory stereotypes about the roles and responsibilities of women and men in the family and in society. It also recommends that such a strategy address intersecting forms of discrimination against women, including women with disabilities, indigenous women, women of African descent, migrant women and lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and intersex persons, as defined in paragraph 18 of the Committee’s general recommendation No. 28 (2010) on the core obligations of States parties under article 2 of the Convention.
- The Committee is concerned about:
(a) The lack of clear legislation prohibiting the performance of unnecessary medical procedures on intersex infants and children until they reach an age when they are able to give their free, prior and informed consent;
(b) The lack of support and effective remedies for intersex persons who have undergone medically unnecessary surgical procedures at a very early age, often with irreversible consequences and resulting in long-term physical and psychological suffering.
- In the light of joint general recommendation No. 31 of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women/general comment No. 18 of the Committee of the Rights of the Child (2014) on harmful practices, the Committee recommends that the State party:
(a) Adopt legislation to explicitly prohibit the performance of unnecessary surgical or other medical treatment on intersex children until they reach an age when they are able to give their free, prior and informed consent, ensure that medical practitioners are informed about such legislation and provide families with intersex children with adequate counselling and support;
(b) Ensure that intersex persons who have undergone unnecessary surgical or other medical treatment without their free, prior and informed consent have effective access to justice and consider establishing a State compensation fund for them.
Gender-based violence against women
24. The Committee welcomes the significant legislative and institutional advances, including the national plan of action on violence against women for the period 2014−2018, made to combat gender-based violence against women and the development of a database to record incidents of violence. Nevertheless, it remains concerned about:
(a) The persistently high rates of gender-based violence, including physical, psychological, sexual and economic violence, against women in the private and public spheres in the State party, and the high levels of intrafamily violence against girls and adolescents;
(b) The lack of progress in adopting the draft law on the right of women to a life free from violence (bill No. 11077-07), which has been before Congress since 2016;
(c) The limited scope of Act No. 20.066 on intrafamily violence to sanction cases of femicide, which requires that the perpetrator must be or have been in a relationship with the victim, and the increasing prevalence of femicide (which rose from 34 cases in 2016 to 43 in 2017) and attempted femicide;
(d) Violence against girls, including cases of sexual exploitation and abuse, in institutions of the National Service for Minors;
(e) The reported use of violence by State agents against lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and the lack of data on prosecutions and convictions in such cases;
(f) Reports of excessive use of force by State agents against Mapuche women in Araucanía, and the lack of data on cases of violence against indigenous women.
- The Committee recalls its general recommendation No. 35 (2017) on gender-based violence against women, updating general recommendation No. 19, and recommends that the State party:
(a) Enhance efforts to combat all forms of gender-based violence against women, develop a comprehensive strategy to prevent violence against children, in particular in the home, and provide psychosocial support to victims;
(b) Expedite the adoption of the draft law on the right of women to a life free from violence (bill No. 11077-07) and ensure that the intersecting nature of violence and discrimination is recognized under the law, in particular with regard to migrant women, indigenous women, women with disabilities and lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and intersex persons;
(c) Amend Act No. 20.480 on femicide to expand the definition of femicide to include all gender-motivated killings, intensify measures to prevent femicide and ensure the investigation, prosecution and conviction of its perpetrators;
(d) Establish a specific mechanism to monitor the rights of girls in State-run institutions of the National Service for Minors and ensure that all cases of gender-based violence against girls are investigated and perpetrators prosecuted and adequately punished;
(e) Address the lack of protective measures to ensure the dignity and integrity of lesbian, bisexual and transgender women, including by raising public awareness of their rights, in cooperation with civil society, and adopt measures to prevent hate crimes and ensure that investigations, prosecutions and convictions are carried out and that adequate redress, including reparation and compensation, is provided to victims;
(f) Ensure that all forms of gender-based violence against Mapuche women committed, or resulting from actions or omissions, by State agents at all levels, including the police, are duly and systematically investigated, perpetrators effectively prosecuted and punished with adequate sentences and disciplinary measures and victims provided with reparation or compensation.