During its 55th meeting in Brussels on November 19-21, the Executive Board of Education International (EI) adopted a resolution condemning the violence against peaceful protestors in Chile and demanding respect for students, teachers and civil society.
Board members unanimously adopted a text put forward by EI Latin American affiliates, in which the “awakening of the people of Chile” after decades of extreme neoliberal measures was praised. The resolutions shows support for the demands of the protestors, ranging from better education to housing and decent retirement. “It is an uprising against the dehumanisation and commercialisation of social life generated by this model,” the resolution states.
The text condemns the Chilean government “for its brutal violations of human rights against citizens who rightfully exercise their right to protest.” Sonia Alesso, General Secretary of CTERA Argentina, presented the resolution and described the dangers faced by students and teachers during the protests, with 23 people killed, 183 people losing their eyes and over 2,300 injured. Alesso demanded an immediate end to the violence against the protestors and particularly against trade unionists who were being monitored and surveyed. With the National President of the Chilean Teachers' Association, Mario Aguilar Arévalo, having been designated as a “target of interest” by the intelligence services, EI announced that it reserved the right to initiate international legal action before the relevant bodies.
The resolution follows a previous official communication by the Latin American regional office of EI that condemned the violence and demanded an immediate cessation of all aggression, the suspension of the state of emergency in all cities, and open avenues of dialogue with citizens in order to ensure conflict resolution.
David Edwards, Education International General Secretary, stated that “declaring a state of emergency that suspends people’s rights and deploying soldiers in cities is wholly unacceptable. The government of Chile must immediately stop the repression, remove the military from the streets and begin to address people’s legitimate concerns over the never-ending austerity measures. We stand in solidarity with our colleagues and with all Chileans.”