PRESIDENT SEBASTIAN PIÑERA SIGNED A LAW on Friday to grant legal protection against discrimination to those living in Chile. The previous lack of an anti-discrimination law had left many discriminated-against minorities without legal protection or recourse.
In light of a hate crime in which a young gay man was tortured and killed this spring, public opinion in Chile has shifted. The historic law was originally drafted under the government of President Ricardo Lagos, and languished for more than ten years before finally being passed this week.
President Piñera, the first president from the political right in Chile since democracy was restored in 1989, pronounced the following upon signing the law:
We cannot forget that it was only after the cruel murder of Daniel Zamudio, who died at the hands of murderers motivated by discrimination, hate and prejudice, that Chile decided to take this step for the creation of a more just, inclusive and hospitable society for every one of our compatriots.
The law prohibits capricious discrimination based on several factors, including nationality, language, gender identity, and sexual orientation, charges governmental entities with protecting individuals’ rights under the new law, and allows for economic sanctions against those who discriminate.
It is supported by Movilh, a gay rights organization, which also requested that the legislation be known as the Zamudio Law. Their public statement says, “[The law is called] the Zamudio law. This is how we want it to be remembered so that there will never be more hate crimes. Daniel is a figure who transcends sexual diversity, and it is thanks to him that this law’s approval was sped up.”
Read the text of the law (in Spanish) at Movilh’s website.