The United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) Saturday asked the Chilean Government to guarantee and protect the rights of migrant children, following violent incidents involving foreign citizens in the city port Iquique, which has been flocked by undocumented migrants.
The global entity specifically mentioned in a statement “the situation of hundreds of immigrant children in northern Chile after a march ended with the burning of foreign people's belongings.”
UNICEF expresses its concern about the situation that immigrant children and adolescents are experiencing in Iquique and asks the State to guarantee and protect their rights, thus complying with international treaties signed by the country, the document went on.
UN special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants Felipe González Morales – not to be mistaken with former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe González Márquez – described the arson attack against the belongings of immigrants as an “inadmissible humiliation,” following the events which took place during an anti-immigration march Saturday. The xenophobic discourse, assimilating migration to crime, which unfortunately has become more and more frequent in Chile, feeds this kind of barbarism, González Morales said.
Around 3,500 migrants have been reported to be stranded in the streets of Iquique, most of them after having entered Chile through illegal Andean crossings en route to coastal cities.
Most migrants are said to stem from Venezuela. Amid sanitary restrictions, the toughening of Chile's immigration policies and their scarce economic resources, they are trapped without being able to continue their journey through the country, sleeping in shelters or makeshift camps on the streets.
According to Chilean Police, between January and July of this year, 23,673 complaints were filed for entering the country through non-authorized crossings, 40% of the cases filed through all of 2020.
In any case, the truth remains that foreigners are paid worse than Chileans. What the government wants to do is to continue making the workforce more precarious by bringing foreigners to Chile, National Association of Rural and Indigenous Women (Anamuri) leader Alicia Muñoz said as the Government of President Sebastián Piñera announced it was considering the creation of a labour visa for migrants.
Foreigners have a much worse time than Chileans, Muñoz told the Italian news service ANSA during a break from a meeting with agricultural workers in Santa Familia, 217 kilometres from Santiago. “We know what this means, it is greater labour flexibility,” she insisted. “after they [business owners] brought foreigners into Chile, they left them at the doors of the embassies,” she went on as she depicted the situation of thousands of women and men who had to spend the night outside diplomatic offices, mainly in Peru, Bolivia and Argentina.
Muñoz also addressed the extreme living and conditions of people -mainly Haitians- in Las Cabras, 168 kilometres southwest of Santiago.