IACHR Takes to Inter-American Court of Human Rights Case Concerning Adolescents Held in Facilities
International Justice and Human Rights Researcher,
Global Human Rights Defence.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) filed on December 17, 2021 an application before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in a case concerning adolescents held in short- and long-term detention facilities run by Chile's National Children's Service (SENAME). The case concerns the State's international responsibility for the fate of 10 adolescents who died in 2007 in a fire at the short-term detention center Tiempo de Crecer in Puerto Montt and of 282 adolescents held at four short- and long-term detention facilities—Lihuén (Limache), Antuhue (Rancagua), San Bernardo (San Miguel), and Tiempo de Crecer (Puerto Montt)—that the SENAME managed and was responsible for.
The IACHR noted that the authorities at the SENAME and the Tiempo de Crecer facility had failed to take the minimum preventive measures required to manage fire hazards, including the use of fire extinguishers. The IACHR therefore concluded that omissions and shortcomings in the State's response amounted to a serious failure to comply with the State's duty to protect the rights of these adolescents who were deprived of liberty, leading to the deaths of 10 adolescents.
The IACHR also found that the 282 adolescents held in the four detention facilities were being held in conditions that did not meet the basic standards of a humane, dignified treatment, which conspired against the individual development of these adolescents in heightened judicial protection regimes. The Commission therefore deemed that the State had failed to comply with its duty to protect the rights to education, leisure, and occupational training of the affected individuals, in keeping with inter-American standards. The Commission also found that these four detention centers used isolation cells where adolescents were locked up and punished in ways that amounted to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.
Sources and further reading:
IACHR, “IACHR Takes to Inter-American Court of Human Rights Case Concerning Adolescents Held in Facilities Run by Chile's National Children's Service (SENAME)" January 07,2022. https://www.oas.org/en/IACHR/jsForm/?File=/en/iachr/media_center/PReleases/2022/006.asp