Chile + 1 more

Chile: Situation Report - March 2022

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Situation

• The new President of Chile, Gabriel Boric, took office on 11 March and became the youngest president in Chile´s history, at the age of 36. During his first days in office, the new government announced that they would prioritize the refugee and migration situation in the northern regions.

• In March, social leaders and independent truckers blocked the principal routes in Tarapacá Region to pressure the new Minister of the Interior to visit Tarapacá and present the government’s proposal on refugees and migration. The host community indicated that almost 40,000 people had settled in the region after arriving irregularly in the last year, which has generated problems in public transportation, among other public services and infrastructure.

• On 14 March, the National Government extended the constitutional state of exception that had been declared previously for the northern region, to control irregular entries to the territory. On 23 March, the government requested the Chilean Congress to further extend the state of exception and the presence of the military in the north of the country for another 15 days (until 15 April), in order to carry out border control operations against the irregular entry of refugees and migrants across the border with Bolivia. The request was approved, and the government promised this would be the last extension. Meanwhile, the President stated that there would be no widespread "pardon" of people who entered the country irregularly, and raised the possibility of establishing a quota system for countries in the region receiving refugees and migrants (mentioning Colombia, Peru and Chile).

• On 26 March an elderly Venezuelan woman died in Colchane after entering Chile through an unofficial border point. So far, in 2022, seven deaths of refugees and migrants were registered at the border point of Colchane, including three Venezuelans. The Mayor of Colchane expressed their concern and asked for a reopening of the land borders.

• In the last week of March, the Mayor of Colchane stated that the maintenance of existing ditches marking the border between Chile and Bolivia, coupled with the increase in border control due to the constitutional state of exception, had resulted in a decrease in the number of arrivals of refugees and migrants at the border: from 500-600 refugees and migrants on average entering daily in January, to currently 300.
According to information from the Investigative Police, 3,213 refugees and migrants entered Chile in March through unofficial border points.
This figure is lower than that registered in January (4,207) and February (3,959). In total, 11,379 people have entered Chile irregularly so far in 2022, out of whom 7,763 are from Venezuela. The National Police Carabineros in Tarapacá region recognized that during March there was an expulsion process that failed, and refugees and migrants were sent back to the transitory shelter in Iquique instead.