Grassroots Organizations Across Latin America and the Caribbean Condemn States of Emergency and Curfews in Chile and Ecuador

Grassroots Organizations Across Latin America and the Caribbean Condemn States of Emergency and Curfews in Chile and Ecuador

More than a hundred grassroots organizations in Latin America came together to denounce human rights violations in Chile and Ecuador. The Argentine Commission for Refugees and Migrants (CAREF) is one of the signatories of this denouncement.  Below is the text of the declaration.

Democracy is Not Protected When it is in Fact Suspended

The state of emergencies, curfews, and militarization are authoritative responses that provide for the suspension of human rights and cause very serious violations. These events do not resolve social conflicts and put at risk decades of democratic construction, which sought to banish those very injustice practices.

Latin America is the most unequal region in the world, where the majority suffer disproportionately from the costs of policies that restrict access to rights and benefit markets in the short, medium, or long term. Now in some countries of the region, the distrust towards the political parties and the institutions of the state has increased. In addition to the very serious declaration of states of emergency in Ecuador and Chile, the figure also flies in other countries in diverse situations.

In Ecuador, the protests escalated after the government negotiated with the IMF measures that did not have any citizen participation or consultation mechanisms, such as the removal of the fuel subsidy, which implied the rise in the cost of living and the consequent social discontent. On October 4, President Lenín Moreno (Ecuador) moved the government from Quito to Guayaquil and announced a state of emergency throughout the territory for 60 days. With the decree, he mobilized the Armed Forces, suspended the rights of freedom of association and assembly, and limited the freedom of transit for 24 hours. Protests continued for another ten days with this police and military repression at left eight dead, 1,340 injured, and 1,152 detained, according to figures from the Ombudsman’s Office of Ecuador. The level of conflict yielded—due to the assistance of the United Nations and the Episcopal Conference –when President Moreno left without effect the removal of subsidies on October 13. On October 14, the state of emergency and curfew were lifted; but in the following days, the criminalization of political and social leaders advanced with judicial accusations of rebellion and insurrection, and arrest warrants were issued.

On October 18, social conflict erupted in Chile. This country has one of the highest inequality rates in the region, constitutional frameworks inherited from the military dictatorship, and an index of around 60% of voter absence, the highest in Latin America. The protests began against the increase of the tariffs of the Metro, which resonated in the accumulation of social demands of wide sectors, with massive manifestations, fires, and looting throughout the country. As in Ecuador, the response of President Sebastián Piñera (Chile) was to proclaim states of emergency and curfews in numerous regions and localities, including the capital of Santiago. As a result, military tanks circulate throughout the city, and the armed forces took to the streets intending to make arrests, a definite sing of restriction of fundamental rights. In this context of militarization, serious allegations of torture and sexual violence were recorded in several of the detentions. As of October 27, the National Institute of Human Rights (NHRI) confirmed the death of 19 persons, 5 of them caused by police and military operations. The NHRI figures, constantly updated, indicate 3,193 arrests—of which 343 were children and adolescents—and among the more than 1,000 injuries recorded, at least 570 shot by different types of firearms.

International human rights standards determine acts of violence, in the context of a protest, can never be invoked to characterize it as violent in its entirety. The contexts of widespread protests generally involve situations of conflict and tension. These situations are widely labeled “non-peaceful” to deny the rights which protect social protest and protesters. The total overview of any protest as violent should not blur its underlying claims:  growing social inequities and deficiencies in a region, which decades ago, strived to consolidate its democracies.

On the contrary, the strength of democracies is displayed in their ability to articulate and channel conflict in a political matter. Assuming responses through states of emergency and suspension of human rights to respond to social conflict threatens the rule of law.

As human rights, political, and social organizations in Latin America:

We request the immediate cessation of states of emergency and curfews in Ecuador and Chile and the withdrawal of armed forces from security tasks.

We reiterate the obligation of States to investigate deaths and other human rights violations promptly, effectively and impartially, and not to criminalize social protest.

We call on the OAS and the UN and its human rights protection mechanisms to take a clear position on the empowerment of exception measures and suspension of rights.

We express our concern about the statements of other leaders in the region regarding the possible use of such measures in response to political and social conflicts, which end up eroding the legitimacy of democratic processes and popular project.


  1. Cooperative Lawyers
  2. ANDHES—NOA Lawyers in Human Rights and Social Studies
  3. APDH—Permanent Assembly for Human Rights Argentina
  4. Association of Labor Lawyers
  5. ACIJ—Civil Association for Equality and Justice
  6. Red Viva—Civil Association Network of Victims of Violence
  7. ACDA—Association of Congolese of Argentina
  8. Association of Research Artists, Teachers of the National University of the Arts
  9. Lola Mora Association
  10. APL—Legislative Personnel Association
  11. ATE Capital
  12. Athenea of Haras
  13. Chrysalis Popular Library of Gender and Affective Diversity of Tucumán
  14. Campaign to Emigrate is not a Crime
  15. Town of Catamarca Against Torture and State Repression
  16. CELS—Center for Legal and Social Studies
  17. CLADEM—Argentina
  18. CAEL–Argentina Coalition for a Lay State
  19. YoNoFui Collective
  20. MECoPa—Colombian Migrants and Exiles for Peace Collective
  21. Andean Collective
  22. CAREF—Argentine Commission for Refugees and Migrants
  23. Billinghurst Neighborhood Memory Commission
  24. Trans and Transvestite Federal Call of Argentina
  25. Autonomous CTA
  26. CTA of the Workers—Province of Buenos Aires
  27. Corps of Feminist Lawyers of Córdoba
  28. ELA—Latin American Justice and Gender Team
  29. FALGBT—Argentine Federation of Bisexual and Trans Gay Lesbians
  30. FELRA—Argentine Legislative Federation
  31. FOCO—Citizen Forum for Participation of Justice and Human Rights
  32. TLGBI—Province of Buenos Aires Front
  33. Argentinian Migrant Homeland Front
  34. Dario Santillan Popular Front
  35. Time to Work Protestant Foundation
  36. Foundation of WomanxWoman—Tucumán
  37. Grouped Tenants
  38. Exchange of Civil Association
  39. IARPIDI—Argentine Institute for Equality, Diversity, and Integration
  40. INECIP—Institute of Comparative Studies in Criminal and Social Sciences
  41. INSGENATE—Institute of Gender, Law and Development
  42. UNLa—Institute of Justice and Human Rights
  43. ILSED—Latin American Institute for Security and Democracy
  44. Institute Prisma San Martin
  45. CGT, CTA-A and CTA-T—Several Unions of Human Rights of Argentina
  46. The 49 Tucumán
  47. The Casildas
  48. Matria—Institute on Gender Issues—Tucumán
  49. National Board for Equality
  50. Migrants x Migrants
  51. Plurinational Migrant Movement
  52. Free Cities Movement—Ama Yunqo
  53. SMA–Strong Women
  54. Women Movement, San Martin
  55. Rosario Memory Museum
  56. Our Deep America
  57. OTRANS—Argentina
  58. SMA–Migration Ministry
  59. Platform of People Exercising Sex Work
  60. Town in March
  61. Network of Feminist Lawyers
  62. Migrant and Refugee Network in Argentina
  63. National Network of Migrant Leaders in Argentina
  64. Network of Survivors of Ecclesiastical Sexual Abuse of Argentina
  65. Red Viva, civil association
  66. PECIFA—Civil Service Union of the Armed Forces of the Argentine Republic
  67. Sitraju RA—Union of Judicial Workers of the Argentine Republic
  68. Suteba—Unified Union of Education Workers of Buenos Aires
  69. Xumek—Association for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights


  1. ABRASME—Association of Mental Health of Brazil
  2. Artigo 19
  3. Popular Brigades
  4. Brazil Cooperative Center—Unisol
  5. Collective The Lamp Uprising
  6. Youth Together Collective
  7. We are Nature Collective
  8. Direct Human Connections
  9. FIAN—Brazil
  10. FNDC—National Forum for Democratization of Communication
  11. IDDD—Defense Institute of Law
  12. Vladimir Herzog Institute
  13. Intervozes—Brazil Collective of Social Communication
  14. Global Justice
  15. Activist Bench Movement
  16. MNDH—National Movement of Human Rights
  17. MTST—Homeless Workers Movement
  18. Many through The Street We want—Belo Horizonte
  19. Popular Emancipate and Education Network
  20. Antifascist Resistance Joseense, São José dos Campos, SP


  1. Citizen Observatory
  2. UDP—Migrant and Refugee Clinic
  3. Humanas Corporation—Chile
  4. Migrant Action Movement


  1. CAJAR—Lawyers Collective “José Alvear Restrepo”
  2. Elemental Human Rights
  3. ILSA–Latin American Institute for Alternative Society and Law –
  4. Women’s Movement for Peace


  1. CSMM—Human Rights Documentation Center “Segundo Montes Mozo SJ”
  2. CEDHU—Ecumenical Commission on Human Rights
  3. Humanas Corporation—Ecuador

El Salvador

  1. FESPAD—Foundation of Studies for the Application of Law, Guatemala
  2. CAFCA, CALDH, IACHR, ECAP, ICCPG, ODHAG, SEDEM, UDEFEGUA, and UNAMG –Convergence for Human Rights ().


  1. COFAMICENH—Committee of Migrant and Disappeared Family Members of the Center of Honduras
  2. Reflection, Research and Communication Team of the Society of Jesus, Honduras


  1. CAFAMI A.C.
  2. Fray Matías de Córdova Human Rights Center
  3. Miguel Agustín Human Rights Center, Pro Juárez
  4. Elementa Human Rights
  5. FIAN—Mexico
  6. Institute of Studies and Outreach on Migration, Mexico
  7. IMUMI—Institute for Women in Migration, AC


  1. TEDIC—Association of Technology, Education, Development, Research, Communication
  2. Amotocodie Initiative


  1. APRODEH—Association for Human Rights
  2. CAAAP—Amazon Center for Anthropology and Practical Application
  3. IACHR–Center for Drug and Human Rights Research
  4. EQUIDAD—Center for Public Policies and Human Rights
  5. National Human Rights Coordinator of Peru
  6. Demus—Study for the defense of Women’s rights
  7. Peace and Hope


  1. Civil Association El Abrojo
  2. CDNU–Committee on the Rights of the Child of Uruguay

Regional and international

  1. MARCOSUR—Feminist Association
  2. Rumiñahui Association, Madrid, Spain
  3. Associates for What is Fair, JASS, Mesoamerica
  4. Latin American Block on Migration
  5. CLADEM—Latin America and the Caribbean Committee for the Defense of Women’s Rights
  6. CONTLAC—Confederation of Legislative Workers of the Americas and the Caribbean
  7. FIAN International
  8. Greenpeace, Andean Office
  9. IWGIA—International Working Group on Indigenous Affairs
  10. DAWN—Women for Alternative Development for a New Era
    133. OMCT—World Organization Against Torture
  11. Gender and Trade Network
  12. Latin American and Caribbean Network for Democracy
  13. Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights
  14. POWER—Project on Organization, Development, Education and Research
  15. Tatu Latin American
  16. WOLA—Washington Office on Latin America