Rape and Domestic Violence: The law criminalizes rape of men or women, including spousal rape. Penalties for conviction of rape range from five to 15 years’ imprisonment, and the government generally enforced the law.
The law criminalizes some forms of both physical and psychological domestic violence and protects the privacy and safety of the victim making the charge of rape or domestic violence.
Gender-based violence, including rape and femicide, was a significant problem.
Family courts handle cases of domestic violence and penalize offenders with fines and other sanctions, such as eviction of the offender from the residence shared with the survivor, restraining orders, confiscation of firearms, and court-ordered counseling. Cases of habitual psychological abuse and physical abuse are prosecuted in the criminal justice system. Penalties for conviction are based on the gravity of injuries and range from 61 days’ to 15 years’ imprisonment. Murder in the context of domestic violence is defined as femicide in the criminal code, and penalties range from 15 years to life in prison. The government generally enforced the laws against domestic violence effectively.
The Ministry of Women and Gender Equality had a victim’s assistance and protection program that operated psychological, legal, and social assistance centers and shelters throughout the country and maintained an emergency hotline.
On June 3, in Puerto Saavedra in Araucania Region, Irma Curiñanco Carrera was found on the street with stab wounds and later died at a local hospital. Police arrested her former partner. A restraining order prohibiting him from approaching the victim had expired in April. The man was placed in pretrial detention.
On July 25, three off-duty Carabineros officers were accused of raping a woman at a party in the district of La Cisterna in Santiago Metropolitan Region. The officers were dismissed from the police force, and prosecutors pursued criminal charges against two of the three officers.
Sexual Harassment: Workplace sexual harassment is a civil but not criminal offense; penalties are outlined exclusively in the labor code. By law sexual harassment in the workplace is cause for immediate dismissal from employment. The law requires employers to define internal procedures or a company policy for investigating sexual harassment. Employers may face fines and payment of additional financial compensation to victims if it is shown the company did not follow its policy on sexual harassment. The law provides protection to those affected by sexual harassment from employers and coworkers. The law provides severance pay to individuals who resign due to sexual harassment if they worked at least one year with the employer.
Sexual harassment in public spaces is a crime. The law defines any words or gestures of a sexual nature designed to intimidate or humiliate another person as harassment. The law also covers visual recordings of an individual’s genital area or private parts made without consent. Depending on the severity of the crime, penalties for conviction range from 61 days’ to five years’ imprisonment and fines.
Reproductive Rights: There were no reports of coerced abortion or involuntary sterilization on the part of government authorities.
The government’s National Health Service provided contraception and reproductive health services. Access to sexual and reproductive health services and information was limited in remote regions, which especially affected poor women.
The National Service for Women and Gender Equality provided access to medical, legal, and psychological services for victims of sexual violence, including the provision of emergency contraception as part of clinical management of rape. Emergency contraception was also available at pharmacies without a prescription for the purpose of family planning.
Discrimination: Although women possess most of the same legal rights as men, local human rights organizations reported the government did not enforce the law effectively and that discrimination persisted in employment, pay, ownership and management of businesses, and education.
Certain laws defining the marital relationship enable discrimination. The most common marital arrangement is “conjugal society,” which provides that a husband has the right to administer joint property, including his wife’s property, without consultation or written permission from his wife, but a wife must demonstrate that her husband has granted his permission before she is permitted to make financial arrangements. The law provides that, unless a woman is married under the separate-estate regime or a joint-estate regime, she may not enter a commercial partnership agreement without permission from her husband, while a man may enter such an agreement without permission from his wife.
Despite a law providing for equal pay for equal work, one-third of women were paid less than men, according to an organization specializing in market and consumer data. The Ministry of Women and Gender Equality oversaw protecting women’s legal rights and was specifically tasked with combating discrimination against women.
Systemic Racial or Ethnic Violence and Discrimination
Equal treatment and nondiscrimination are explicitly protected in the constitution, and the labor code specifically prohibits discrimination. There were reports of discrimination against racial minorities and immigrants in public health and education.
The government implemented training programs for public officials on assisting immigrants, incorporated interpreters into offices, and provided information in languages other than Spanish, specifically Haitian Creole. Several municipal governments implemented plans for assisting migrants with public services.
Haitian migrants and Venezuelan migrants, including those of Afro-descent, reported xenophobia and discrimination in their local communities. In September 2021, and in January, several thousand citizens engaged in anti-immigrant protests in the northern city of Iquique, including attacks on migrant camps.
Although the constitution does not specifically protect Indigenous groups, Indigenous persons have the right to participate in decisions affecting their lands, cultures, and traditions, including the exploitation of energy, minerals, timber, and other natural resources on Indigenous lands. According to human rights organizations, Indigenous persons encountered serious obstacles to exercising these civil and political rights, including the right to use natural resources in their territories, to political participation, and to nondiscrimination and equal access to justice.
While Indigenous lands were demarcated, some Indigenous Mapuche and Rapa Nui communities demanded restitution of privately and publicly owned traditional lands.
The law recognizes nine Indigenous groups in the country and creates an administrative structure to provide specialized programs and services for the economic, social, and cultural development of these persons.
Indigenous persons experienced societal discrimination, including in employment. There were reports of incidents in which Indigenous persons were attacked and harassed. There were reports of police abuse of Mapuche individuals and communities, including children. The INDH initiated legal proceedings to protect the constitutional rights of Mapuche individuals, including children and adolescents, in cases of use of excessive force by security forces.
Birth Registration: Citizenship is derived by birth within the country’s territory and from one’s parents or grandparents. There were no reports that birth registration was denied on a discriminatory basis.
Child Abuse: There are laws against child abuse, but a lack of effective prosecutions remained a problem. The law renders persons convicted of child sexual abuse permanently ineligible for any position, job, career, or profession in educational settings requiring direct and habitual contact with children younger than age 18. The law also mandates a public registry of these sex offenders.
In November 2021, a judge found two shelter workers of the National Service for Minors (SENAME) guilty of having committed unlawful coercion and causing the death of Lisette Villa, age six, in 2016 through abusive physical restraining techniques. In April, the Santiago Appellate Court confirmed the sentence applied to both defendants: one received a sentence of four years of supervised probation, and the other received five years of supervised probation. The INDH acted as coplaintiff before the Santiago Appellate Court.
Child, Early, and Forced Marriage: The legal minimum age of marriage is 18 (16 with parental consent).
Sexual Exploitation of Children: The law prohibits all forms of human trafficking and prescribes penalties ranging from five years to 20 years in prison, plus fines, for conviction of trafficking offenses. Child sex-trafficking cases were often prosecuted under a different law, for which conviction provides lesser penalties. Due to sentencing guidelines for first-time offenders that provide automatic parole for any sentence of less than five years’ confinement, many convicted traffickers received weak sentences, hampering efforts to deter traffickers and hold them accountable.
Sexual relations with children ages 14 to 17 may be considered statutory rape depending on the circumstances. Sex with a child younger than age 14 is considered rape, regardless of consent or the victim’s gender. Penalties for conviction of statutory rape range from five to 20 years in prison. Child pornography is a crime. Penalties for conviction of producing child pornography range from 541 days to five years in prison.
Commercial sexual exploitation of children and adolescents was a problem, and children were victims of sex trafficking with and without third-party involvement. Children were also used in the production of pornography.
Institutionalized Children: SENAME continued implementing a restructuring begun after investigations of the 2017 death of an age 11 child in SENAME custody revealed systemic problems of abuse and neglect in SENAME shelters. The restructuring included closing traditional shelters for vulnerable children and replacing them with family-style residences. The first family-style residences opened in 2019 in Valparaiso and Santiago.
The My Lawyer Program of the Judicial Assistance Corporation filed numerous complaints in prior years regarding the commercial sexual exploitation of children and adolescents who resided in SENAME shelters or residences, or in shelters overseen by Better Childhood (which replaced SENAME in 2021). In March, officials denounced a case of sexual exploitation in a residence in the Santiago municipality administered by Better Childhood.
The Jewish community was approximately 18,000 persons, and approximately 60,000 persons in the country were of Jewish ancestry.
The Jewish community reported an increase in antisemitic social media posts and media publications, including the July 11 publication of a racist internet meme embedded in a newspaper advertisement published in Las Ultimas Noticias for discount alcohol vendor Arbol Verde, a private company.
Gerardo Gordischer, president of the Jewish Community of Chile, stated antisemitic comments on social media increased following President Boric’s September 15 refusal to accept the diplomatic credentials of Israeli Ambassador Gil Artzeyli. The refusal was due to what the Ministry of Foreign Relations called “the framework of political sensitivity” generated by the death of an age 17 Palestinian “during an Israeli Army operation” on the same day.
Trafficking in Persons
See the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report.
Acts of Violence, Criminalization, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity or Expression, or Sex Characteristics
Criminalization: There are no laws criminalizing consensual same-sex sexual conduct between adults.
Violence against LGBTQI+ Persons: Violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI+) individuals continued. On July 30, chef Jaime Vergara was found dead of knife wounds at his home in Quillota with a homophobic slur written on his body. The alleged perpetrator was arrested and placed in pretrial detention.
In March the Homosexual Integration and Liberation Movement (MOVILH) reported that in 2021 it received 1,114 reports of violence or discrimination due to sexual orientation or gender identity, a 12 percent decrease compared with 2020. The cases included three killings, police abuse, discrimination in the workplace, and hate campaigns.
Discrimination: The most common discriminatory acts reported to MOVILH were verbal abuse and discrimination in public services, such as police operations, public education, and health services.
The law prohibits discrimination against persons based on sexual orientation or gender identity in housing, employment, and access to government services. The government generally enforced these laws effectively. At times, however, authorities appeared reluctant to use the full recourse of antidiscrimination laws, including charging assailants of LGBTQI+ victims with a hate crime, which would elevate criminal penalties.
On March 10, the 2021 Marriage Equality Act went into effect, giving all families the right to the same benefits and protections provided by marriage.
Availability of Legal Gender Recognition: The law grants transgender citizens age 14 and older the right to have gender markers on government-issued identity cards and university diplomas changed to reflect their gender identity without a medical exam. For individuals age 18 and older, the process involves submitting a request to the Civil Registry and Identification Service; for individuals age 14 to 17, the process is done in family courts.
Involuntary or Coercive Medical or Psychological Practices Specifically Targeting LGBTQI+ Individuals: There was no evidence of any efforts to promote or require “conversion therapy” practices.
Intersex activists reported children born with sex characteristics that do not align with typical notions of either male or female bodies were routinely subjected to nonconsensual medical treatment, including surgeries to “normalize” their bodies. This was despite a 2015 Ministry of Health circular instructing such procedures be discontinued. Reportedly, the Chilean Medical Association was supportive of a ban on nonconsensual intersex surgeries and was working with activists to end these practices.
Restrictions of Freedom of Expression, Association, or Peaceful Assembly: There were no restrictions on freedom of expression, association, or peaceful assembly with respect to LGBTQI+ issues.
Persons with Disabilities
The law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, and mental disabilities, and the government generally enforced these provisions. Nonetheless, persons with disabilities suffered de facto discrimination in employment and occupation, education, housing, and health care. Persons with disabilities cannot access all public buildings and transportation on an equal basis with others.
While the law requires universal and equal access to these services, information, and communications, such access was limited, and most public buildings did not comply with legal accessibility mandates. The public transportation system, including many metro stations and most buses, particularly outside Santiago, did not adequately provide accessibility for persons with disabilities. National government communications via television were interpreted into sign language, but not all forms of government information and communications, including information from regional and local governments, were provided in accessible formats.
Children with disabilities attended public and private school with their peers and in segregated schools. Parents may choose whether to enroll their children in special education centers.
The law stipulates employers adopt measures to include workers with disabilities into their workforce; the law includes an annual reporting requirement. As of June 30, the Labor Directorate, an independent government authority under the Ministry of Labor, reported many companies complied with the requirements set by the labor inclusion law and that many labor contracts included some type of labor inclusion provision. Employment rates for persons with disabilities were highest in the Santiago Metropolitan Region and lower in rural areas, especially the northern Arica and Parinacota Region.