In a vote that took place on Friday, November 18th, Chile’s Chamber of Deputies (the lower house of the Chilean Congress) voted on and passed a resolution requesting the President to repeal Decree 124 on Indigenous consultation. The decision passed easily with 58 votes in favor, one against, and with 14 abstentions. The news is a positive step towards eliminating Decree 124, which has widely been criticized as not complying with international Indigenous rights documents and norms.
The initiative was brought before the House (la Cámara) by Lautaro Carmona (PC). Carmona discussed the importance of repealing Decree 124 due to the fact that it does not meet international standards with respect to Indigenous peoples. He added that it is a particularly crucial issue in Chile because more than 8% of the population is Indigenous and so the Decree affects many people. Finally, Carmona added that it is the Chilean Government’s job to make sure that national Chilean legislation is inline with international standards.
The resolution specifically calls for President Piñera to repeal Decree 124. Decree 124 was put in effect during the Bachelet administration and was initially intended to be a temporary law until a more substantial consultation policy could be created. But two years after going in to force, Decree 124 remains. The Decree has been widely criticized by Indigenous groups and international law experts alike. This criticism has been based, in part, on the fact that Decree 124 does not appear to meet the standards of international law, specifically, of International Labor Convention 169, which was ratified by Chile in 2008.