According to the petitioning party, Sandra Cecilia Pavez Pavez has been a religious education
teacher for basic general education in the Cardinal Antonio Samoré Municipal High School for more than 22
years. The petitioning party indicated that, pursuant to Article 9 of Decree 924 of Chile’s Ministry of Education
governing classes on religion in schools, those who teach this subject, in order to exercise this activity, in
addition to having graduated, require a certificate of suitability issued by the corresponding religious authority.

The petitioning party, pointed out that, on July 25, 2007, the vicar for education of the Diocese
of San Bernardo, René Aguilera, issued a written communication addressed to Ms. Pavez where he informed
her of the decision to revoke her certificate of suitability, which had been issued continuously since Ms. Pavez
had started working as a teacher, and to prevent her from exercising her profession. The petitioning party
alleged that this decision was taken because the authority had learned about the sexual orientation of Sandra
Pavez. In that regard, the party indicated that, prior to this, the vicar had urged the alleged victim to terminate
her “homosexual life” under penalty of not being allowed to work as a religious education teacher. The
petitioner also pointed out that said authority had imposed on her the additional condition of undergoing
psychiatric treatment to “reverse her alleged mental disorder.” The party stated that the alleged victim did not
agree to such conditions and, because of that, her certificate of suitability was revoked.

Regarding the proceedings, the petitioning party indicated that an appeal for protection
against the vicar was filed. The party pointed out that said appeal was dismissed by the Court of Appeals of San
Miguel as it considered that the applicable legislation empowered the religious authority to take a decision
regarding this, and that it did not come under the State’s jurisdiction to interfere or question it. In view of this
decision, the petitioning party pointed out that appeal proceedings were filed and that Chile’s Supreme Court
of Justice, in its ruling, upheld all parts of the judgment that was being appealed.
The petitioning party argued that the present case has to do with public service employment
and discrimination because of sexual orientation. The party stated that the State, even under the “protected
assumption of freedom of worship, cannot nor must it tolerate acts of discrimination in a democratic society.”
The party indicated that the State had granted broad and boundless decision-making powers to religions, which
give them the opportunity to condemn with impunity professionals for discriminatory reasons.

The petitioning party alleged that the facts described above constitute a violation of the right
to have access, under general conditions of equality, to public service, as enshrined in Article 23(1)(c) of the
American Convention on Human Rights in connection with the obligation to guarantee rights. The party stated
that Sandra Pavez was working as civil servant in a state school and that the state, when granting powers to a
religious authority to evaluate the suitability of a professional did not base its decision on any reasonable or
objective parameter and, by tolerating the Catholic Church’s decision, it discriminated against a person in her
employment as a civil servant on the basis of a forbidden category. The party also pointed out that Decree 924
is not suitable to govern and regulate government employment, because this law is not in line with the

The petitioning party argued that the State also breached Sandra Pavez’s right to equality
before the law, because Victor Aguilera’s conduct, together with the denial of rights by Chilean courts, “lead to
the perpetuation of a situation of constant discrimination against and repudiation of homosexual minorities,
for the benefit of lines of thought within the Catholic Church that directly contradict the law of the State of

The petitioning party also stated that Chile is responsible for violating the right to the
protection of honor and dignity because the Chilean courts protected, by their rulings, schools of thought that
foster discrimination and interference in the private lives of individuals. Finally, the party contended that the
State’s failure to adopt measures to prevent discrimination, such as amendments to Decree 924, did not fulfill
the duty of adopting provisions under domestic law.

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