Senior Management of the Institute
The Senior Management Institute corresponds to a Council, constituted as follows:
- Two members appointed by the President, who shall be of different regions of the country.
- Two members appointed by the Senate.
- Two members appointed by the House of Representatives.
- A counselor appointed by the deans of Law schools of the universities that form part of the Council of Rectors and autonomous universities.
- Four counselors appointed in the manner established by the statutes, by the institutions involved in the defense and promotion of human rights that have existing juridical personality, listed in the appropriate register kept by the Institute.
Internal working committees
For the development of its work, the Council may establish internal working committees which are responsible for specific tasks or subjects that are proper to the Institute. Each committee will be chaired by a member of the Council and may invite outstanding individuals with proven experience in the field in question.
National Advisory Council
A National Advisory Council, in which the social and academic organizations dedicated to the promotion and defense of human rights and fundamental freedoms will be represented and will provide its advice to the Council on any matter within its proficiency when required, for proper resolution, for the pronouncement of civil society.
An internal regulation, approved by two thirds of the Council, shall determine its composition and how said advice shall be provided.
Lorena Fries Monleón
- Margarita Romero Méndez – For Civil Society
- Branislav Marelic Rokov – For Civil Society
- Debbie Guerra Maldonado – Appointed by the President of the Republic, Michelle Bachelet
- Eduardo Saffirio Suárez – For the Chamber of Deputies
- Miguel Luis Amunátegui Monckeberg – For the Chamber of Deputies
- Carolina Carrera Ferrer – For the Senate
- Consuelo Contreras Largo – For Civil Society
- José Aylwin Oyarzún – For Civil Society
- Sebastián Donoso Rodríguez – Appointed by the President of the Republic, Sebastián Piñera
- Sergio Micco – Appointed as counselor by the deans of Law schools of the universities of the Council of Rectors and autonomous universities.
- Yanira Zúñiga
- Ana María Célis
- Abraham Magendzo
- José Marimán
- Andrés Rivera
- Rolando Humire
- Beatriz Sánchez
- Bárbara Saavedra
- Viviana Díaz (National Human Rights Prize 2013)
- María Soledad Cisternas (National Human Rights Prize 2014)
Establishment of the Institute
The National Human Rights Institute (INDH) was born as an independent public corporation created by Law No. 20.405, whose objective is to promote and protect the human rights of all Chileans established by the constitutional and legal norms, in the international treaties signed and ratified by Chile that are in force, as well as those emanating from the general principles of Law recognized by the international community.
In most countries throughout the world and within the region during the last decade, there have been institutions for the protection and education of human rights being created. In Chile, the establishment of INDH in its beginnings was based on the conclusions of the Rettig Report (1991) for the purpose of creating a culture of respect in terms of Human Rights.
The NHRI was born as a space that looks, reflects and reviews the history of our country in order to install Human Rights in our present and impulse them with strength and permanency towards the future.
Bill No. 20.405, that created the National Institute of Human Rights, was submitted to Congress on June 15, 2005 under the government of former President Ricardo Lagos.
Its legislative process ended in November 2009 in the Senate, with the approval of the additive veto of the former President of the Republic, which was oriented towards including the possibility of presenting judicial claims regarding acts such as crimes against humanity, genocide, war crimes, forced disappearances, torture, migrant smuggling or human trafficking.
On Tuesday, November 24th, 2009, in the Montt Varas Hall of the Moneda Palace, former President Michelle Bachelet led the signing ceremony of the Law 20.405, fulfilling the final step into the passing of the law whose initiative aimed at the creation of the National Human Rights Institute as an autonomous body with its own assets, and whose actions are audited by the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic.
On December 10th, 2009, the creation of the INDH (Law No. 20.405) and the National Advisory Council was published in the Official Journal, in which the social and academic organizations dedicated to the promotion and defense of human rights would be represented, and establishes that the President of the Republic shall constitute an Advisory Committee for the qualification of the Detained and Disappeared, Politically Executed victims, and victims of Political Imprisonment and Torture.
On July 20th, 2010, the act establishing the INDH was performed, naming the eleven board members: Luis Miguel Amunátegui, Eugenio Díaz, Lorena Fríes, Sergio Fuenzalida, Roberto Garretón, Claudio González, Luis Hermosilla, Enrique Núñez, Manuel Núñez, Pamela Pereira and María Luisa Sepúlveda. Lorena Fries Monleón is named Director of the INDH.
- The National Institute of Human Rights, according to Law No. 20.405, fulfills the following functions listed below:
- Prepare an annual report on its activities, the national human rights situation and make recommendations for its appropriate control and respect. This report must be submitted to the President of the Republic, to Congress and to the President of the Supreme Court. Additionally, it can be sent to the UN, OAS and organizations for the defense of human rights.
- Communicate to the Government and various State agencies their views on the human rights situations that occur in our country. They may request reports from the relevant agencies.
- Propose measures to the organs of the State that favor the promotion and protection of human rights.
- Promote that the national legislation on the subject is in harmony with international treaties signed by our country, thus giving them an effective implementation.
- Present (within its legal mandate) legal actions before the courts, which may be such as lawsuits for crimes against humanity, torture, disappearances, etc. Present Habeas Corpus and other constitutional judicial actions.
- Custodian of the evidence gathered by the National Commission on Truth and Reconciliation (Rettig Commission), the Commission on Political Imprisonment and Torture (Valech Commission), the National Corporation for Reparation and Reconciliation, the Human Rights Program as well as those documents which the new Commission Valech, formed in 2010 under Law No. 20.405.
- Collaborate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other public services related to reporting on the topic to be presented to the UN or the OAS.
- Cooperate with the UN and other institutions related, regional or from other countries, in the promotion and protection of human rights.
- To increase awareness on human rights, support their education at all educational levels, including the training in the Armed Forces, conducting investigations, making publications, granting awards and foster a culture of respect for human rights in the country.
The Institute is led by a Council composed of:
- Two members appointed by the President of the Republic, who must come from different regions of the country.
- Two directors elected by 4/7 of the senators in practice.
- Two directors elected by 4/7 of the Members of Parliament in practice.
- A Counselor appointed by the deans of Law schools of the universities that form part of the Council of Rectors and autonomous universities.
- Four directors elected by institutions in the defense of human rights.
Council members elect a director within the board by an absolute majority quorum, who will also be the director of the Institute.
Counselors may not be deputies, senators, mayors, municipal councilors, regional councilors, judges, public prosecutors, officials of the State Administration, members of the armed forces, police and PDI (acronym for: Police Investigation Department).
In addition, there will be a National Advisory Council in which social and academic organizations dedicated to the promotion and protection of human rights will be represented. This entity should provide advice to the Council of the Institute.
For knowledge of all the functions of the NHRI, download Law No. 20.405.
National Human Rights Institute Mission
The Institute’s mission is to preserve and promote the full effect of human rights in Chile.
As an institution of the republic it must observe, report and intervene in the defense of threatened or violated human rights, while equally encouraging the construction of a culture that recognizes and promotes them in all spheres of national life.
Institute of Human Rights Vision
- Fulfills its function from its autonomy, independence and pluralism.
- It is relevant to the contribution of promoting a human rights culture and to its full effect in the country.
- Their reports and statements have credibility in the community and state powers in virtue of its consistency, accuracy and veracity.
National Human Rights Institute Objectives
- Integrate diverse perspectives related to human rights.
- Articulate an effective national system for the monitoring and defense of human rights.
- Expand social understanding of human rights in all their dimensions.
- Articulate and cooperate with networks of human rights actors of civil society.
INDH Unit Functions
Citizen Care and Collaboration Unit
The Citizen Care and Collaboration Unit, has the duty to propose and execute Citizen care policies due to requirements such as jurisdictional and social orientation, counseling and information in the areas that take action the INDH.
Within its functions, the department is also in charge of the system management and information flow of petitions, complaints and requests under the Law of Information Access to Public Information, that are required to the INDH.
The Department is also responsible of managing the INDH Center of Documentation, which include among other responsibilities, custody and guard in deposit documents and records gathered by the National Corporation of Reparation and Reconciliation, by the Commission of Political Imprisonment and Torture and by the Advisory Committee for the qualification of the Detained and Disappeared, Victims of Political Executions and Political Imprisonment and Torture, as well as the public attention and constant update of the Institutional Library.
Safeguard and preserve all the documentation gathered by the National Commission of Political Imprisonment and Torture (Valech I), Presidential Advisory Committee of Qualifications of the Detained and Disappeared, Political Executions, and Victims of Political Imprisonment and Torture (Valech II). In the case of this last one mentioned, submit documentation requested by the courts of justice.
Education and Promotion Unit
The main objective of the NHRI’s Education Unit is to promote a culture of respect for human rights in Chile. This carried out by promoting the teaching of human rights in all levels of the educational system, including the training within the armed forces, law enforcement and public security.
Thus, the NHRI’s Education Unit promotes the development of research, studies and publications, by the granting of awards and event sponsorship relating to these matters. In addition, this unit is responsible for developing initiatives to disseminate these rights and their enforceability for individuals, groups and communities that are discriminated, by which celebrating agreements with public or private organizations, both domestic and foreign, whose work is related to the INDH field of action.
The Research Unit is responsible for preparing the Annual Report of the national situation of Human Rights, for public awareness of the reality of Chile in this area. For this, the Unit prepares reports for the United Nations, and for regional and national institutions devoted to the promotion and protection of human rights, thus promoting agreements with public or private organizations for the development of research programs in human rights.
This unit is also responsible for implementing a series of publications from the research, studies and reports developed. Similarly, it generates and organizes its own statistical information and measurements for monitoring compliance and respect for human rights in Chile.
Administration and Finance Unit
The Administration and Finance Unit is responsible for ensuring proper management of the human, physical, financial and IT resources of the Institute, by running a human resources policy and implementing a policy for the procurement of goods and services for the INDH. Along with the above, this unit must perform the budget execution, carrying the accounting of the Institute according to the rules of the State Financial Administration, for preparing the Annual Budget Management Report.
It must also manage the assets of the Institute and propose the formulation of the annual budget of the institution to the Director, generating financial statements and monitoring the correct compliance of the internal and external accountabilities of resources transferred to natural and legal persons, in the various programs of the institution.
Legal and Judicial Unit
The Legal and Judicial Unit are in charge of preparing proposals to state bodies for the adoption of measures for the protection and promotion of human rights referred to in Article 3° N°3 of the Act, as well as enhancing proposals to promote that the legislation, regulations and practices are harmonized with international human rights treaties in the terms established in article 3° N°4 of the Act.
Furthermore, it designs and implements a protocol of attention to cases in order to present legal actions before the courts of justice within the area of authority of the Institute, under the terms established in Art. 3°, N°5 of the Act. In addition to the above, it develops a monitoring and evaluation system of legislative bills and laws, with an impact on the human rights issue.
Lastly, it tracks the jurisprudence of the national, foreign and international courts of justice, of the Constitutional Court and the Office of the Comptroller General in cases involving human rights issues, and elaborates legal reports to be brought before the courts and other bodies in the areas of national jurisdiction.
The objectives of the Regional Offices of the National Human Rights Institute (NHRI), aim to perform the work of its Main Headquarters, and bring it closer to the citizenship throughout the regional areas.
At the present the NHRI has six regional offices operating in the following regions: Arica y Parinacota, Antofagasta, Valparaiso, La Araucanía, Biobío and Los Lagos. During 2016 there will continue to be an expansion to other regions of the country. Once the process of opening regional offices has ended, it will allow the NHRI to be operational throughout the country.
The main functions of the Regional Offices of NHRI are: the development of the regional sections and documenting cases for the Annual Report; Communicate the NHRI´s opinion to Government Institutions at a regional level, on situations involving human rights that occur within its regional territory; Request to regional government institutions or services reports on practical situations or actions on human rights; Propose to the regional governmental organs, measures to favor the promotion and protection of human rights; Deduce legal actions; Arrange with the Main Headquarters the request of copy records of the Truth Commissions; Promote, coordinate and transmit the promotion and projection of historical memory throughout the regional territory; Spread awareness of human rights within the regional territory; Support and promote the awareness of human rights within the regional area; Advise public and private organizations, in matters that concern the NHRI, within its regional territory; And supply technical advice, cooperation and dialogue with the regional civil society.