Information on Catholic church workers (ie. lay people, volunteers working for the poor and soup kitchens) and whether they are facing difficulties with the authorities or other groups, 1991 to present [CHL28713.E]

The following information was provided by a professor of political science who specializes in Chilean civil society at McGill University in Montreal during a 2 February 1998 telephone interview. The professor is also the author of the 1995 publication entitled Organizing Civil Society: The Popular Sectors and the Struggle for Democracy in Chile.

Generally, Catholic church workers working for the poor or in soup kitchens have not suffered systematic "repression" from the authorities since Chile restored its democracy. Although some human rights advocates and indigenous leaders have received death threats during this period. Lay people at the grassroots level of church activity are less likely to have been the targets of such threats. Such cases in the 1990s would be isolated and not politically-motivated, and more likely to be a case of someone being "in the wrong place at the wrong time." Furthermore, the possibility of threat would be greater if the person in question had been active in church-based activity during the military régime in the 1970s and 1980s.

Additional and/or corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Professor of Political Science, McGill University, Montreal. 2 February 1998. Telephone interview.

Additional Sources Consulted

Amnesty International Report. 1994-1997.

CHIP News [Santiago]. Daily.

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. 1993-1996.

Fundación de la Ayuda Social de las Iglesias Cristianas. 1997. Situación de Derechos Humanos en Chile 1996.

Human Rights Watch World Report. 1995-1997.
Inter-Church Committee for Human Rights in Latin America (ICCHRLA). January 1992.

1991 Annual Report on the Human Rights Situation in Chile.

Latinamerica Press [Lima]. 1991-1997.

Latin American Regional Reports: Southern Cone Report [London]. 1991-1997.

One source consulted could not provide information on the above-mentioned subject.

Electronic sources: IRB Databases, Global News Bank, LEXIS/NEXIS, Internet, REFWORLD (UNHCR database), World News Connection (WNC).