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07 May 2021 – Chile

Cuartel de la Policia de Investigaciones de Iquique, (Google Maps, accessed on 7 May 2021,
(Cuartel de la Policía de Investigaciones de Iquique
Cuartel de la Policia de Investigaciones de Iquique, (Google Maps, accessed on 7 May 2021, (Cuartel de la Policía de Investigaciones de Iquique

In late April 2021, several civil society organisations denounced the alleged mistreatment of migrants who had been detained by police in the towns of Arica and Iquique. The Jesuit Migrant Service (Servicio Jesuita a Migrantes or SJM) filed legal appeals claiming that there had been “irregularities” in their treatment, including: improper body searches; lack of access to lawyers representing the detainees at police stations; and people held for more than 24 hours, beyond the legal limit. The SJM country director pointed to “the new Migration Law (Ley de Migracion y Extranjeria) … that allows those who arrived irregularly into Chile, to leave and request a visa abroad without being sanctioned.” Ureta stated that it does not make sense that while the law provides this possibility, many people are being expelled without giving them the opportunity to engage this process.

The Asamblea Abierta de Migrantes y Promigrantes de Tarapacá, another migrant rights advocacy organisation in Chile, stated that certain expulsion orders were given to migrants that were in health centres in preventive quarantine. The organisation’s spokesperson, Lorena Zambrano, said that “the persons who have been notified and detained, are persons that have been in health centres. Most of them are Venezuelan nationals, but there are also persons from other countries.” Zambrano said that the new Migration Law, which allows persons who have entered the country irregularly to voluntarily leave the country within 180 days of the publication of the new law (20 April 2021) without a penalty, was not being respected.

The National Human Rights Institution of Tarapacá (NHRI, Instituto Nacional de Derechos Humanos Tarapacá) said that approximately 50 people had been notified of their expulsion and detained.

In Arica, 32 people, including children, were detained on 23 April 2021. Nonetheless, the appeal filed by the SJM was accepted by the Appeal Court, who ordered the “immediate release” of the detained migrants and also suspended their expulsion orders.

Importantly, although Chile’s law provide for forms of administrative costly for migrants awaiting expulsion, regulations for these detention operations does not explicitly provide for health care screening or other forms of care.