REPORT No. 28/131 PETITION 1345-05 ADMISSIBILITY TEACHERS OF CHAÑARAL CHILE March 20, 2013 I. SUMMARY 1. This report concerns the admissibility of Petition No. 1345-05, which was opened by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter “Inter-American Commission”, “Commission” or “IACHR”) after it received a petition lodged on October 23, 2005, by two law firms, Etcheberry/Rodríguez and Colombara Olmedo, on behalf of 84 teachers in the Municipality of Chañaral against the State of Chile (hereinafter the “State” or the “Chilean State”).2 Through communications of February 2007 and December 2008, the petitioners broadened their petition to include 80 teachers from the Municipality of Chanco, 32 from the Municipality of Pelluhue, 90 from the Municipality of Parral, 193 from the Municipality of Vallenar, and 373 from the Municipality of Cauquenes, making a total of 852 alleged victims.3 The petitioners claim that the State has engaged its responsibility under the American Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter the "American Convention" or “the Convention”), specifically for violation of the rights to a fair trial, property, judicial protection, and progressive development enshrined in Articles 8, 21, 25, and 26, respectively, of said Convention, taken in conjunction with the obligations to ensure rights and adopt domestic legal provisions established in Articles 1(1) and 2 thereof. 2. The initial petition states that in a final judgment of July 20, 1994, the magistrate’s court for labor matters had ordered the payment to the alleged victims of an outstanding debt that the Municipality of Chañaral owed them in social security benefits. The petitioners say that owing to the municipality's failure to comply with the judgment, they had sought various remedies for its enforcement, to no avail. They add that on May 18, 2005, Chañaral Magistrate’s Court for Labor Matters had ordered the Municipality, through its mayor, to issue a mayoral decree for payment. That decree was reportedly never issued and as of the lodging of the petition the judgment had not been carried out. 3. As regards the municipalities of Chanco, Pelluhue, Parral, Vallenar, and Cauquenes, the petitioners say that, likewise, the teachers in those municipalities obtained final judgments in which the municipal authorities were ordered to pay them certain amounts owed to them for social security benefits. Despite the fact that payment agreements were reached, the petitioners claim that they were not fulfilled and that only in the cases of the municipalities of Chañaral and Vallenar were some payments were made, for amounts less than those owed, which, they argue, can only be construed as partial payments toward the overall debt. 4. In the case of the teachers of Chañaral, the latter had not obtained a final decision ordering compliance and the State holds that available remedies under domestic law for repairing the 1 In keeping with Article 17(2)(a) of the Rules of Procedure of the IACHR, Commissioner Felipe González, a Chilean national, did not participate in the discussion or decision in the present case. 2 The alleged victims were appropriately identified in the initial petition regarding the the Municipality of Chañaral. 3 Appendix 1. List of alleged victims presented by the petitioners.