Chile · 21 September, 2020

Judges in Chile now have an Access to Justice Protocol for migrants

The EU EUROsociAL+ programme, through the FIIAPP Democratic Governance Policies Area, promotes a comprehensive response to guarantee the protection of migrants in the face of the massive rise in migration

Judges and staff from Chile’s judiciary participated on 8 and 10 September in an online workshop presenting the Protocol for Access to Justice for Migrants prepared within the framework of the European Union EUROsociAL+ Programme.

The workshop was given by EUROsociAL+ experts Carmen Miguel Juan and Macarena Rodríguez, who also participated in formulating the protocol. This instrument proposes rules for action and mechanisms for effective protection for the judiciary to follow to ensure greater protection in access to justice for migrants in Chile. As the experts explained, the protocol includes international human rights regulations, national regulations applicable to migrants, and includes administrative resolutions. It also develops the principle of equality and the prohibition of discrimination. Finally, it includes a series of recommendations for judges and judicial officials when interacting with migrants, refugees and foreigners.

The workshop was presented by the president of the Supreme Court, Guillermo Silva, who highlighted the judiciary’s commitment to “promoting effective and timely access to justice as a focus of its activity, generating tools to achieve this end, especially in the case of groups and people in vulnerable situations, who may be subject to discrimination.”  He also added that the institution “will persist in these efforts to promote and protect the exercise of fundamental rights by migrants and other vulnerable groups, and also reduce or eliminate barriers to their access to justice.”

In turn, the head of cooperation in the European Union Delegation to Chile, Ewout Sandker highlighted “the enormous challenges faced, among others, by justice institutions in the region to improve access to justice for migrants” and that “the situation of exclusion and vulnerability of people in a situation of mobility requires special attention to improve the protection and enforcement of their rights”.

As explained by Kiko Segovia, the project coordinator with the Spanish Bar Foundation, the protocol includes, among other aspects, an identification table for vulnerabilities associated with migration – such as the condition of unaccompanied minors, women victims of gender violence or trafficking, or potential asylum or refugee applicants – requiring a legal analysis of the regulations that protect them and referral protocols that must be activated to protect them.

Chile has seen an increase in its migrant population in recent decades, and more so in recent years. Studies indicate that migration will continue, and even increase, in the coming decades, especially in the post-Covid era. This fact is important for understanding the needs and challenges faced by, among other institutions, the Chilean judiciary, to improve access to justice for migrants, as explained by María Luisa Domínguez, the senior technician manager for the EUROsociAL+ Democratic Governance Area Justice Line. The European Union Programme has been working towards this aim through this project since 2017. As a first step, a diagnosis and baseline were established on access to justice for migrants, which highlighted the challenges that arise in the different jurisdictional areas or powers. At the same time, good practices were identified that have served as input when preparing the protocol.

The document is available in digital format for free access. To download the Protocol, click here.

Country: Chile
SDG: Peace, justice and strong institutions
Policy area: Democratic governance policies