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6 July 2022, 15:00-16:15

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Economic, social, and environmental rights in Chile’s constitutional process

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Flag of Chile on the bakcground of a map of south america Flag of Chile on the bakcground of a map of south america

HRC50 SideEvent Chile CN

In October 2019, massive social unrest erupted in Chile. The protests included rallies across the country demanding a new social, economic, and environmental pact. In response, political parties across the spectrum agreed to channel the social conflict through an institutional process to replace the 1980 Constitution. The 80’s Constitution was adopted during the military regime of Augusto Pinochet and even though it was reformed in 2005, it retains the ideological fingerprints of Chile’s dictatorship. In late 2020, an overwhelming majority of Chileans (78%) voted in support of a new Constitution amid strong demands for dignity and economic justice that linger since the social unrest.

After 10 months of work, the Chilean Constitutional Convention has finished the draft of the new Constitution, shifting towards a human rights respecting, gender inclusive and climate-sensitive constitutional framework. Among its innovative provisions, the draft proposal enshrines a long list of economic, social, cultural, and environmental rights; ensures gender parity and equality clauses across government branches; recognises rights and autonomy for indigenous peoples; as well as the duty of the State to put in place prevention, adaptation and mitigation measures to halt the climate emergency.

The constitution will be put to a mandatory national referendum on September 4th in which all Chilean people 18 and older must vote in favour or against the proposal. If the proposed text is rejected, the Pinochet-era constitution will remain in place. Due to its transformative character, the new Constitution can be a pioneer in rethinking constitutional frameworks while addressing current global contexts where there are historical levels of inequality, a pressing climate crisis and serious threats of successive crises such those being generated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This side event to the 50th regular session of the Human Rights Council, co-organized with the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR), will analyse from a human rights perspective the key risks, challenges, and opportunities arising from the Chilean Constitutional process.

Chair

  • Dr Magdalena Sepúlveda, Director of the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Former United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights (2008-2012)

Panelists

  • Dr Christophe Golay, Senior Research Fellow and Strategic Adviser on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights at the Geneva Academy.
  • Prof Javier Couso, Professor of Law at the Universidad Diego Portales in Santiago, Chile, and Professor of Global Trends in Constitutionalism at the University of Utrecht, Netherlands.
  • Dr Koldo Casla, Lecturer in Law and the Director of the Human Rights Centre Clinic, University of Essex (UK).

Registration

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Video

Economic, social, and environmental rights in Chile’s constitutional process

Watch this side event to the 50th regular session of the Human Rights Council, co-organized with the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR), which analysed from a human rights perspective the key risks, challenges, and opportunities arising from the Chilean Constitutional process.

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