Transparency International is severely concerned about the social and political crisis currently gripping Chile, and especially the associated acts of violence that have led to multiple deaths and thousands of injuries.
An important cause of the unrest is Chileans’ anger at corruption and impunity. With decisive action from the government, the current crisis can be a turning point for Chile, its citizens and institutions. Chile Transparente, Transparency International’s national chapter, invites relevant state institutions and elected officials to collaborate with civil society organisations to find a sustainable way out of the current situation.
A fair and independent judiciary is key to ending impunity and rigorously prosecuting corruption crimes. Judicial anti-corruption efforts must be part of a comprehensive anti-corruption agenda that should aim to strengthen the investigative work of the public ministry by:
- Ensuring that the agency disposes of adequate human, technical and financial resources and is able work autonomously.
- Modernizing research systems
- Creating a special prosecutor’s office for corruption cases
- Facilitating transnational cooperation between investigative agencies and encourage the creation of an international task force, recognizing the transnational nature of corruption crimes.
For anti-corruption measures to be effective in the long term, authorities must also protect those who witness and report corruption. To this day, victims and witnesses of corruption, as well as whistleblowers have no legal protection in Chile. The government should therefore:
- Adopt whistleblower legislation and create a whistleblower protection system with appropriate resources and trained personnel.
- Provide legal assistance to whistleblowers and witnesses of corruption, in order to collect background information and guide them through the process following a complaint.
Above all, democratic and human rights of freedom of association, speech, and to non-violent protest, must be respected to seize the opportunity for positive change at this critical point.
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