AMERICA/CHILE – Violence against migrants: “We cannot allow a new epidemic, this time of hatred, racism and xenophobia”

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Iquique – On Friday, September 24, the police forces evicted the former Plaza Brasil in the city of Iquique where groups of Venezuelan migrants had camped out who in recent weeks have been arriving in large numbers in Chile: “we have witnessed beatings of minors and pregnant women, without providing a possibility of hosting those who have been removed and attacked”, denounced Red Clamor Chile, asking “respect for the integrity and dignity of all people and, above all, that the human rights of children and adolescents are ensured”.
On Saturday, September 25, during a March against illegal immigration, “a group insulted, stripped and then burned the clothes, personal effects and tents of people who fled a conflict” reports Red Clamor, that reiterates: “acts like these threaten the construction of a humane, welcoming and inclusive society, and continue to undermine the right to a dignified and safe life for all.
We reiterate our rejection of the expulsions of migrants which have contributed to generating a climate of hatred, criminalization and stigmatization which aggravates the migration governance crisis we face today”. In the statement sent to Fides, Red Clamor highlights that “a real and serious solution to the situation in the north of Chile” must include: access to shelters with adequate health conditions, where health, food and health are guaranteed and the initiation of regularization processes; provide for the listening of local authorities by the executive branch and the convening of working groups to deal with the crisis in a multidimensional way; change the current migration policy; coordinate international actions and diplomatic dialogue to address the phenomenon of migration at a regional level.
“If current migration policies continue, coexistence between local communities and migrants will continue to be more complex – highlights Red Clamor -. Nobody wants a cycle of irregularity, exclusion and even violence against migrants to be perpetuated. There is an urgent need for a change of course in government policies that is inclusive, participatory, humanitarian and international”. The Incami Pastoral Department of Human Mobility, Obispado de Valparaíso, commented on the situation in a statement on September 26: “The events that took place in the north of the country hurt us, it is sad to see human people having to face each other.
Today we pray and ask all those responsible to seek as soon as possible answers to these challenges where the central issue is the protection of human lives. We cannot allow a new epidemic, but this time of hatred, racism and xenophobia. In the light of the Gospel we are always for life, especially in times of humanitarian crisis. May our borders truly become privileged places of opportunity and encounter”.
“This is an inadmissible humiliation towards vulnerable migrants”, said Felipe Gonzalez, United Nations Special Envoy for Migration, via twitter. “Xenophobic statements that identify migration as a crime, which is becoming more and more widespread in Chile, fuel this type of barbarism”.