CHILE: Child deaths in State care were significantly underestimated

Hundreds of children and adults under the care or supervision of the National Service of Minors (SENAME) in Chile have died in the last 11 years, with previous figures giving a far lower estimate than the true number of deaths.

The latest report from SENAME states that 1313 people died in custody from 2005 to 2016, 865 of whom were children who had been placed in group homes, detention centres or remained with their families under State supervision.

A judicial inquiry is now underway into the deaths and there are calls for President Bachelet to promote reform of the system, especially because the officially recorded number of deaths rose so sharply from 300 when last reported, to almost 900 in the latest figures presented in court.

Representatives of UNICEF have said juvenile justice issues in Chile "are invisible" with the country’s budget only including a three percent rise in funding for SENAME next year and parliamentarians within the country have labelled the crisis the most serious violation of human rights since the reestablishment of democracy.


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