Constitutional Rights and Obligations

CHAPTER III Constitutional Rights and Obligations Article 19

The Constitution guarantees to all persons:

1. The right to life and to the physical and psychological integrity of the individual.
  1. The law protects the life of those about to be born.
  2. The death penalty may only be instituted for a crime considered in a law approved by a qualified quorum.
  3. Use of all illegal pressure is prohibited;
2. Equality before the law.
  1. In Chile there are no privileged persons or groups. In Chile there are no slaves, and those who should set foot on her territory become free.
  2. Neither the law nor any authority may establish arbitrary differences;
3. Equal protection under the law in the exercise of their rights.
  1. All persons have the right to legal defense in the manner indicated by law and no authority nor individual may impede, restrict or perturb the due intervention of an attorney, should it have been sought. As regards the members of the Armed Forces and of Public Order and Security, this right will be governed, in connection with administrative and disciplinary matters, by the relevant norms of their respective statutes.
  2. The law shall provide for the means whereby legal counsel and defense may be rendered to those who should have been unable to obtain them on their own.
  3. No one can be judged by special commissions, but only by the court specified in the law, and provided such court has been established prior to the enactment of said law.
  4. Sentences decreed by a court vested with jurisdiction must be based upon previous legally held proceedings. It will be the responsibility of the legislator to establish, at all times, the guarantees for a rational and just procedure.
  5. The law cannot presume de jure criminal liability.
  6. No crime shall be subject to penalties other than those prescribed for by a law enacted prior to the perpetration of the crime, except where a new legislation might favor the interested party.
  7. No law may establish penalties for crimes which have not been expressly described therein;
4. Respect for and protection of private and public life and the honor of the individual and his family.
  1. Violation of this precept, committed through a mass medium, whereby a false deed or action is imputed unjustifiably causing harm or discredit to an individual or his family, shall constitute a crime and shall be punished as determined by law. However, the mass medium may claim exception by proving, before the corresponding court, the truth of the imputation, unless it should constitute in itself a libel against private individuals. Furthermore, the proprietors, editors, directors and administrators of the respective mass medium shall be jointly responsible for the appropriate indemnifications;
5. Inviolability of homes and all forms of private communication. Homes may be searched and private communications and documents intercepted, opened or inspected only in the case and in the manner prescribed for by law;

6. Freedom of conscience, manifestation of all creeds and the free exercise of all cults which are not opposed to morals, good customs or public order;
  1. Religious communities may erect and maintain churches and their facilities in accordance with the conditions of safety and hygiene as established by the laws and ordinances.
  2. With respect to assets, the churches and religious communities and institutions representing any cult shall enjoy the rights granted and acknowledged by the laws currently in force.
  3.  Churches and their facilities assigned exclusively for religious activities shall be exempt from all taxes;
7. The right to personal freedom and individual security. Consequently,
  1. Every person has the right to live and remain in any place in the Republic, move from one location to another, and enter and leave the national territory on condition that the norms established by law are respected and provided that third parties are not impaired.
  2. No one may be deprived of his personal freedom nor may such freedom be restricted except for the cases and in the manner determined by the Constitution and the laws.
  3. No one may be arrested or detained unless on an order of a public official, expressly empowered by law to that effect and provided such an order has been served in the manner prescribed for by law. However, an individual caught in the act of committing a crime may be detained provided that he be brought before the competent judge within the following twenty-four hours. Should the authority order the arrest or detention of an individual, the competent judge must be served, within forty-eight hours following the arrest or detention, and the individual is to be brought before him. By virtue of a well-founded decision, the judge may extend this period to five days and, in instances where the facts under investigation are described by the law as terrorist acts, such period may be extended to ten days.
  4. No one may be arrested or detained, held on preventive arrest or prison, in places other than his home or the public premises established to that effect.
  5. Those in charge of prisons may not accept any one who has been arrested or detained, or who is being tried or sentenced to prison, without recording the appropriate order issued by a legally authorized official, in a public register.
  6. No in communication order may prevent the official in charge of the place of detention from visiting the individual under arrest or detention, subject to trial proceedings or sentenced to prison, held in such place of detention. This officer is obliged, provided it is so requested by the arrested person or detainee, to send a copy of the detention warrant to the competent judge, or to demand that such copy be given to him, or to make an attestation by himself that the individual is being detained, in the event this requirement should have been omitted at the time of the detention.
  7. Release on bail shall apply unless the judge considers the detention or preventive imprisonment necessary for investigation proceedings or for the security of the victim of the offense, or the society. The law shall establish the requirements and formalities for obtaining such release.
  8. In criminal cases the defendant shall be obliged to testify under oath on acts of his own; nor shall he be obliged to testify against the defendant, his ascendants, descendants, spouse or any other persons who, according to cases or circumstances, should be specified in the law.
  9. No penalty of confiscation shall be imposed, without prejudice to any seizure in the circumstances determined by law; however, such a penalty will apply with respect to illicit associations.
  10. The loss of social security rights may not be imposed as a penalty; and
  11. Once definitive stay of proceedings has been decreed, or when absolution sentence is pronounced, the person subjected to trial or sentenced in any process as the result of a decision which the Supreme Court declares unjustifiably erroneous or arbitrary, shall have the right to be indemnified by the State for patrimonial and moral losses which he may have suffered. The indemnification shall be judicially determined in a brief, summary proceeding in which the evidence shall be conscientiously analyzed;
8. The right to live in an environment free from contamination. It is the duty of the State to watch over the protection of this right and the preservation of nature.
The law may establish specific restrictions on the exercise of certain rights or freedoms in order to protect the environment;

9. The right to protection of health.
  1. The State protects the free and egalitarian access to actions for the promotion, protection and recovery of the health and rehabilitation of the individual.
  2. The coordination and control of activities related to health shall likewise rest with the State.
  3. It is the prime duty of the State to guarantee health assistance, whether undertaken by public or private institutions, in accordance with the form and conditions set forth in the law which may establish compulsory health quotations.
  4. Each person shall have the right to choose, the health system he wishes to join, either State or private-controlled.
10. The right to education.
  1. The objective of education is the complete development of the individual in the various stages of his life.
  2. Parents have the preferential right and duty to educate their children. The State shall provide special protection for the exercise of this right.
  3. Basic education is mandatory; to that effect, the State must finance a gratuitous system designed to ensure access thereto by the entire population. It is, likewise, the duty of the State to promote the development of education at all levels, encourage scientific and technological research, artistic creation, and the protection and increase of the cultural patrimony of the Nation.
  4. It is the duty of the community to contribute to the development and improvement of education;
11. Freedom of teaching includes the right to open, organize and maintain educational establishments.
  1. Freedom of education has no other limitations but those imposed by morals, good customs, public order and national security.
  2. Officially recognized education cannot be directed towards propagating any type of political-partisan tendency.
  3. Parents have the right to choose the educational establishment for their children.
  4. A constitutional organic law shall establish the minimum requirements for each of the levels of primary and secondary education and shall provide for the objective norms of general application, that may enable the State to watch over compliance therewith. Said law shall, likewise, establish the requirements for obtaining official recognition of educational establishments at all levels;
12. Freedom to express opinions and to disseminate information without prior censorship in any form and by any means, without prejudice to assuming the responsibility for any crimes or abuses committed in the exercise of such freedoms, in conformity with the law which is to be passed by a qualified quorum.
  1. In no case may the law establish a state monopoly over the mass media.
  2. Any individual or body corporate offended or unjustly alluded to in a mass medium, has the right to have his declaration or rectification gratuitously disseminated, under the conditions determined by law, by the mass medium having issued such information.
  3. All individuals or bodies corporate shall have the right to establish, edit or maintain newspapers, magazines and periodicals, under the conditions prescribed for by law.
  4. The State, such universities and other persons or entities as prescribed by the law, may establish, operate and maintain television stations.
  5. There shall be a National Council for Radio and Television, having autonomy and legal status, which shall be in charge of supervising the proper functioning of these mass media. A law passed by a qualified quorum shall determine the organization and other functions and authorities of said Council.
  6. The law shall establish a system of censorship for the exhibition and publicity of motion picture production and the general norms governing public expression of other artistic activities;
13. The right to assemble peacefully without prior permission and carrying no weapons.
Meetings at squares, streets and other public places shall be ruled by general police regulations;

14. The right to submit petitions to the authorities with reference to any matter of public or private interest, with no limitation other than the requirement to submit such petitions in a respectful and appropriate manner;

15. The right to associate without prior authorization.
  1. In order to have legal status, associations must be organized in accordance with the law.
  2. No one can be obliged to belong to an association.
  3. Associations contrary to morals, public order and Security of the State are prohibited.
  4. Political parties may not intervene in other than their own activities or have any privilege or monopoly on civic participation; its records and accounts must be public; its financing cannot emanate from foreign currency, assets, donations, contributions or credits; its by-laws must provide for norms ensuring an effective internal democracy. A constitutional organic law shall regulate other matters pertaining thereto, and shall provide for the penalties to be applied for non-fulfillment of its precepts, which may include dissolution thereof. The associations, movements, organizations or groups of persons engaged in or performing activities pertaining to political parties without conforming to the aforementioned norms are illegal and shall be subject to penalties provided for in the above-mentioned constitutional organic law;
16. Freedom to work and protection of that freedom.
  1. Any person has the right to free employment and free selection of his work, with a just compensation.
  2. Any discrimination, which is not based on personal skills or capability, is prohibited, although the law may require Chilean citizenship or age limits in certain cases.
  3. No type of work can be prohibited except where it is contrary to morals, or public security and health, or where it should be so required by the national interest as declared by the law. No law or provision from the public authority may demand affiliation to any organization or entity whatsoever, as a requirement for undertaking certain activity or work, nor can it demand that any such affiliation be discontinued as a condition to perform such activities or keep such work. The law shall determine which professions require a title or university degree and the conditions to be met in order to engage in them.
  4. Workmen have the right to collective bargaining with the company for which they work, except where the law should expressly prohibit negotiations. The law shall establish the procedures for collective bargaining and the appropriate procedures for reaching a just and peaceful solution. The law shall provide for the instances in which collective bargaining is to be submitted to mandatory arbitration; this arbitration should be entrusted to special courts of experts, the organization and authority of which shall be established by the law.
  5. Neither State or municipal employees may go on strike; nor may people working for corporations or enterprises, regardless of the nature, objectives or functions thereof, which provide public utility services or the paralyzing of which might seriously harm health, the economy of the country, the supplies to the population or the national security. The law shall establish the procedures to determine the corporations or enterprises whose workers will be covered by the prohibition set forth in this paragraph;
17. Admission to all public positions and employments with no requirements other than those imposed by the Constitution and the laws;

18. The right to social security.
  1. The laws regulating the exercise of this right shall be passed by a qualified quorum.
  2. The action of the State shall be intended to guarantee access of all inhabitants to uniform basic benefits whether granted by public or private institutions. The law may establish compulsory social security quotations.
  3. The State shall supervise the adequate exercise of the right to social security;
19. The right to affiliation to unions in the cases and in the manner prescribed for by the law. Union affiliation shall always be voluntary.
Union organizations shall have legal status by mere registration of their by-laws and constitutive acts, in the manner and conditions prescribed for by law.
The law shall provide for the mechanisms to ensure the autonomy of these organizations. Union organizations and their leaders may not intervene in political partisan-activities;

20. Equal distribution of taxes in proportion with individual income or in the progressive manner established by law, and equal distribution of other public charges.
  1. In no case may the law establish obviously disproportionate or unjust taxes.
  2. The taxes collected, whatever their nature shall be deposited in the Nation's treasury and cannot be earmarked for specific use.
  3. The law may authorize, however, that certain taxes be set aside for national defense needs, or may authorize that taxes levied on activities or assets of a clear local nature be established within the framework of this law, by municipal authorities and that they be allocated to works of community development;
21. The right to develop any economic activity which is not contrary to morals, public order or national security, abiding by the legal norms which regulate it.
The State and its bodies may develop entrepreneurial activities or participate therein only provided such activities or participation be authorized by a law passed by a qualified quorum. In such case, those activities shall be subjected to the common legislation applicable to private individuals, without prejudice to exceptions for justifiable motives established by a law, being also passed by a qualified quorum.

22. A non-discriminatory treatment arbitrarily imposed, to be granted by the State and its bodies in economic matters.
Only by virtue of a law, and provided it does not imply discrimination, certain direct or indirect benefits accorded to any sector, an activity or a geographical region, may be authorized; or special charges affecting one or the other may be established. In case of franchises or indirect benefits, the estimated cost thereof must be annually included in the Budgetary Law;

23. Freedom to acquire ownership over all types of property except that which nature has made common to all men or which should belong to the entire Nation, and that the law so declares. The above is without prejudice to what is prescribed in other precepts of this Constitution.
When the national interest demands it, a law passed by a qualified quorum may establish limitations or requirements for acquiring ownership over specific property;

24. The right of ownership in its diverse aspects over all classes of corporeal and incorporeal property.
  1. Only the law may establish the manner to acquire property and to use, enjoy and dispose of it, and the limitations and obligations derived from its social function. Said function includes all the requirements of the Nation's general interests, the national security, public use and health, and the conservation of the environmental patrimony.
  2. In no case may anyone be deprived of his property, of the assets affected or any of the essential faculties or powers of ownership, except by virtue of a general or a special law which authorizes expropriation for the public benefit or the national interest, duly qualified by the legislator. The expropriated party may protest the legality of the expropriation action before the ordinary courts of justice and shall, at all times, have the right to indemnification for patrimonial harm actually caused, to be fixed by mutual agreement or by a sentence pronounced by said courts in accordance with the law.
  3. In the absence of an agreement, the indemnification shall be paid in cash.
  4. Material possession of the expropriated property will take place following total payment of the indemnification, which in the absence of an agreement, shall be provisionally determined by experts in the manner prescribed for by law. In case of protest regarding the justifiability of the expropriation, the judge may, on the merit of the information adduced, order the suspension of the material possession.
  5. The State has absolute, exclusive, inalienable and prescriptive domain over all mines, including guano deposits, metalliferous sands, salt mines, coal and hydrocarbon deposits and the other fossil substances, with the exception of superficial clays, despite the ownership held by individuals or body corporates over the land in which the above should be contained. The superficial landed property shall be subject to the obligations and limitations prescribed for by law to facilitate exploration, exploitation and development of said mines.
  6. The law is to determine what substances of those referred to in the preceding paragraph, excepting liquid or gaseous hydrocarbons, may be the subject to exploration or exploitation concessions. Such concessions shall always be constituted by court decision and shall have the duration, shall confer the rights and impose the obligations prescribed by a law; this law shall be of a constitutional organic character. The mining concession obligates the owner to undertake the necessary activity to satisfy the public interest, which justifies the granting thereof. Its mining rights shall be established by said law, tending directly or indirectly to obtain fulfillment of that obligation, and providing the grounds for causticity in case of non fulfillment or for simple extinguishable of domain over the concession. In any case, such grounds and effects thereof, must have been established at the time when the concession is granted.
  7. The authority to declare the expiry of such concessions shall rest exclusively with the ordinary courts of justice. They shall settle the controversies, which may arise with respect to the capacity or expiry of the domain over the concession; in the case of capacity, the affected party may request the courts of justice for a declaration of the subsistence of his rights.
  8. The domain of the owner of record over his mining concession is protected by the constitutional guarantees herein dealt with.
  9. The exploration, exploitation or development of deposits, which contain substances not susceptible to concession, may be performed directly by the State or by its agencies or by means of administrative concessions or special operation contracts, with the requirements and under the conditions, which the President of the Republic may establish, for each case, by supreme decree. This norm shall also be applicable to the deposits of any kind existing in sea waters subject to national jurisdiction and those, wholly or partly, situate in zones which, according to law, are declared to be of importance to the national security. The President of the Republic may, at any time, without stating the reason therefore and with the corresponding indemnification, terminate administrative concessions or operating contracts relative to exploitation in zones declared to be of importance to the national security.
  10. The rights of private citizens over waters, recognized or constituted in conformity with the law, shall grant proprietorship to the owners thereof;
25. The right of the author to his literary and artistic creations of any type, for the period of time fixed by law and which is not to be inferior to that of the life of the owner.
  1. The rights of the author include the ownership of the works and other rights such as authorship, the edition and the completeness of the work; all this in conformity with the law.
  2. Guarantee is also granted to industrial ownership of invention patents, trademarks, models, technological processes or other analogous creations, for the period established by law.
  3. The conditions set forth in the second, third, fourth and fifth paragraphs of the preceding number are applicable to the ownership of the literary and artistic creations as well as to industrial ownership; and
26. The assurance that the legal precepts which, by mandate of the Constitution, regulate or complement the guarantees established therein or which should limit them in the cases authorized by the Constitution, may not affect the rights in their essence nor impose conditions, taxes or requirements which may prevent their free exercise.
The norms relative to conditions of constitutional exception and others, which the Constitution itself contemplates, are excepted.

Article 20

He who should, due to arbitrary or illegal actions or omissions, suffer privation, disturbance or threat in the legitimate exercise of the rights and guarantees established in Article 19, numbers 1, 2, 3 (paragraph 4), 4, 5, 6, 9 (final paragraph), 11, 12, 13, 15, 16 relative to freedom to work and the right of freedom of choice and freedom of contract, and to what is established in the fourth paragraph and numbers 19, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25, may on his own, or through a third party, resort to the respective Court of Appeals, which shall immediately take the steps that it should deem necessary to re-establish the rule of law and ensure due protection to the person affected, without prejudice to the other rights which he might assert before the authorities or the corresponding courts.

The appeal for protection in the case of No 8 of Article 19, shall also be applied when the right to live in a contamination-free atmosphere has been affected by an arbitrary or unlawful action imputable to an authority or a specific person.

Article 21

  1. Every individual who should be arrested, detained or imprisoned in violation of the constitutional provisions or the law may appeal on his own or through a third party to the judicature indicated by the law, so that the latter may order that the legal formalities be complied with and may immediately adopt the measures deemed necessary to reinstate the rule of law and ensure proper protection of the affected individual.
  2. Said judicature may order that the individual be brought before it and its order shall be fully obeyed by everyone in charge of jails or places of detention. Following cognizance of the facts, the court shall decree the immediate release of the individual or shall instruct that the legal faults be righted, or shall bring the individual before the competent judge, in a brief and summary manner, thereby correcting such faults or referring them to whomever should have to correct them.
  3. The same recourse may be lodged in the same manner on behalf of all persons who illegally suffer any other privation, perturbation or threat to his right to personal freedom and individual security. In such case, the respective judiciary shall order the measures indicated by the aforementioned paragraphs deemed conducive to the reinstatement of the rule of law and to due protection of the affected individual.
Article 22

  1. Each inhabitant of the Republic owes respect to Chile and to her national emblems.
  2. Chileans have the fundamental duty to honor their fatherland, defend its sovereignty and contribute to the preservation of national security and the essential values of the Chilean tradition.
  3. Military service and other personal obligations, which the law prescribes, are compulsory on the terms and manner set forth therein.
  4. Chileans able to bear arms must be inscribed in the Military Registers, unless they should be legally exempt from this requirement.
Article 23

  1. Intermediate groups of the community and their leaders who make ill use of the autonomy accorded by the Constitution, intervening unduly in activities alien to specific objectives, shall be penalized in conformity with the law. The position of trade union leader shall be incompatible with militancy in a political party.
  2. The law shall establish the corresponding penalties to be applied to union leaders who intervene in political partisan activities and to the leaders of political parties who interfere in the functioning of union organizations and other intermediate groups indicated by law.