Human rights and the state in Latin America

In one of those extraordinary coincidences that suggest a rich vein of irony runs through history, on 10 December 2006, International Human Rights Day, General Augusto Pinochet, who ruled Chile with an iron fist from 1973 to 1990, passed away. Pinochet’s government engaged in some of the worst human rights violations committed by the region’s bureaucratic-authoritarian regimes in the 1970s and 1980s. In turn, the way that the successor democratic governments, from the 1990s to today, handled that legacy provides a succinct catalogue of the difficult dilemmas faced by new democracies as they deal with an evil past. The purpose of this chapter is to provide some partial and limited observations on the evolution of human rights regimes in the context of changing conceptions of the state, with a special focus on Latin America in general and on Chile in particular, where developments have arguably had a significant impact on international human rights law.

Related Subject(s): Human Rights and Refugees
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