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To what extent does the state protect children's rights in the workplace?
To what extent does the state regulate marketing and advertising, and ensure children are not harmed through product use?
Community and Environment Index
To what extent does the state encourage the responsible extraction and use of natural resources, limit damage to the environment, and protect children from displacement?
The following provides a brief analysis of the country data and scores behind the Atlas. To fully understand impacts on children’s rights, we encourage all companies to consult relevant industry analysis, and to conduct due diligence.
Credit: © UNICEF/UNI136079/Friedman-Rudovsky
Chile is one of the most stable and prosperous countries in Latin America and has made significant progress in realising children’s rights. However, government figures reveal that more than half of the country's children and adolescents belong to the poorest 40% of Chile. Migrant children and their families are particularly vulnerable to poverty and social exclusion.
In 2017, the Chilean government launched a National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights, which aims to embed a culture of respect for human rights . The National Action Plan framework concerns the impact of business on human rights, and recognises that children are one of the most vulnerable groups to be affected by private sector operations.
Chile scores in the basic due diligence category in the Workplace Index. Chile has a strong legal framework supporting the elimination of child labour and decent work for parents and young workers. Some challenges are reflected in enforcement indicators measuring government spending on programmes to support vulnerable children and outcome indicators measuring decent work for parents and young workers.
The Chilean government is making notable progress in eliminating child labour. According to the latest government survey (2012), 6.6% of children aged 5-17 are in child labour. A re-analysis of child labour data by Understanding Children’s Work suggests that this rate may have reduced to 3.8% in 2018.
Chile has ratified both ILO Conventions on child labour (No. 138 on Minimum Age and No. 182 on Worst Forms of Child Labour). The law sets the minimum age for employment without restrictions at 18. Adolescents aged 15 – 18 may perform light work that will not negatively affect their health or school attendance. Adolescents may not work more than 8 hours a day or 30 hours per week during the school year. Children under 18 are not permitted to work at night between, with the exception of work in a family business, although boys over 16 may work in some industrial settings at night.
In 2017, the government updated its list of hazardous occupations prohibited for children. Furthermore, in early 2018, the government passed a law creating as Children’s Rights Defender’s Office. However, there are gaps in Chile’s legal framework in relation to the worst forms of child labor. In particular, forced labour is not criminally prohibited except when it results from human trafficking. In addition, there is a lack of publicly available enforcement information, including the number of violations and prosecutions related to child labor.
Decent work for parents and caregivers
Decent working conditions are critical for working parents to provide an adequate standard of living for their children. In particular, maternity and paternity protections are vital to parents’ ability to provide an adequate standard of living to their children, supporting their health, development and well-being.
The government of Chile has ratified ILO Convention No. 103 on Maternity Protections but has not yet ratified Convention No. 183 – the up-to-date convention. National laws entitle women to 18 weeks of fully paid maternity leave – 6 weeks before and 12 weeks after childbirth. Mothers may take additional paid parental leave following maternity leave, either 12 weeks of full-time or 18 weeks of part-time leave. Fathers are entitled to 5 days of paid paternity leave, and can also opt to share parental leave, up to 6 weeks of full-time leave or 12 weeks of part-time leave.
According to ILO data, more than two-thirds of women in Chile are entitled to maternity leave or benefit from income protection. However, there is a significant portion of women who are not entitled to maternity protections, due in part to high rates of informal employment and low rates of participation in the labour force. According to World Bank data, in Chile 40% of non-agricultural employment is informal. Furthermore, according to a 2017 government survey, women’s rates of participation in the labor market are increasing but remain less than 50%. In 1990, 32.5% of women and 73.6% of men worked outside the home, while in 2017 it was 48.9% and 71.6%, respectively.
National laws provide for one hour of paid breastfeeding breaks per day for mothers with infants under 24 months. Paid break time can be used at any time in the working day, by agreement with the employer. Although breastfeeding spaces in the workplace are not mandatory by law, companies that employ 20 or more workers are required to provide childcare, which can help to facilitate breastfeeding during the working day.
Working hours in Chile can belong, which means that working parents may struggle to balance work and family life. Standard working hours under national laws are 45 per week, and according to ILO data, average weekly hours are 40.3. Among OECD countries, Chile has some of the longest working hours: 43.3 average usually weekly hours.
Chile scores in the enhanced due diligence category in the Marketplace Index. Chile has strong outcome indicators measuring product safety and children’s online safety. However, challenges are reflected in enforcement indicators measuring government efforts to tackle commercial sexual exploitation including through business activities and facilities.
Marketing and advertising to children
Chile has ratified key conventions on marketing to children, such as the Constitution of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. National laws limit the advertising of tobacco and alcohol products. However, there is no self-regulatory marketing or advertising code that addresses marketing to children.
There are rising levels of obesity in Chile linked to the marketing of HFSS foods to children and parents, despite government efforts to promote healthy diets. According to the latest WHO data, 35.4% of children and adolescents aged 5-19 years are overweight. Furthermore, Chile leads in the ranking of obesity in children under five, with nearly 10% of children under five overweight.
National laws restrict the marketing of high fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) foods to children. In an attempt to reduce the rates of obesity, in 2016 the government enacted a law on food labelling and advertising, commonly known as the ‘Super 8 Law’. All food that exceeds an established limit of sugars, sodium, calories, and saturated fats must be labelled with nutritional characteristics in a black octagon. These products are also banned from being sold or advertised in schools and must not be offered for free or marketed with children’s gifts (i.e. toys). According to AB Chile, a food industry association, 20% of food and beverage products sold in Chile have been reformulated in response to the law.
Chile has adopted a few legal measures to implement the International Code on Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes. For instance, national laws regulate the information provided on breastmilk substitute packaging. However, lack of full implementation of the Code could be a contributing factor to exclusive breastfeeding rates; WHO data indicate that less than half (44%) of infants are exclusively breastfed.
Children’s online safety
Chile has ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography. However, the country is not a member of the We Protect Global Alliance, an international movement dedicated to national and global action to end the sexual exploitation of children online.
Chile has adopted several laws to protect children from pornography and violence on the internet. National laws prohibit and define child pornography, although internet providers are not required to report instances. The terms cyberbullying, grooming, and sexting are not yet defined. Out of the three, grooming is the only one criminalised in Chile.
According to the Kids Online Survey 2017, most children in Chile do not report facing online risks or engaging in risky behaviors. Still about 1 in 5 children (24%) have added strangers on social media. Over half of children (59%) said they never experience anything upsetting online and 24% have negative experiences only once or twice a year. However, 12% of children see or experience something upsetting online at least monthly or more often.
Although national laws do not expressly prohibit cyberbullying, educational laws define and prohibit bullying, including aggression and harassment carried out by technological means, both inside and outside school. In Chile, anti-bullying efforts have focused on teacher training, workshops for students and parental guidance on bullying and cyberbullying as well as clinical care for victims and bullies to prevent future incidents.
According to the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) survey, 15.1% of children in Chile experience bullying, whether through technological or other means. According to a report by the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Children, Chile is considered a low risk country for bullying.
Community and Environment
Chile scores in the basic due diligence category in the Community and Environment Index. Chile’s overall score can be attributed to enforcement indicators reflecting limited public expenditure on services for children, including health and education; and outcome indicators on community land rights.
Community and government efforts to fulfil children’s rights
Chile has made progress in ensuring the rights of children with respect to education and health. This is reflected in Chile’s performance in the KidsRights Education and Health indices, where the country scores 0.887/1 and 0.976/1, respectively.
Primary and secondary education is compulsory, and the government guarantees all children 13 years of schooling free up to 21 years of age. Since 2015, the School Inclusion Law has eliminated access barriers such as school selection and co-payment in establishments that receive public contributions. However, according to the OECD, there remain marked educational inequities based on students’ socio-economic status. There are large differences in students’ achievement, depending on school type, school location and school resources. These inequities are reflected in students’ educational attainment. For example, the average number of years in education differs considerably according to the individual’s socio-economic background and area of residence.
Health care coverage in Chile is provided primarily by the state-funded National Health Fund (Fondo Nacional de Salud, most commonly known as FONASA) or by the private coverage schemes (las Instituciones de Salud Previsional - ISAPRE). FONASA covers around 78% of the population, ISAPRES cover around 17-18% of the population, while a further 3-4% are covered under an Armed Forces insurance scheme.
In Chile, negative impacts on children’s rights related to environmental factors have been accentuated by the development of the industrial sector, which has resulted in the contamination of water, air and soil degradation, impacting the health of the population. Children are in a stage of growth that makes them especially vulnerable to these threats, so they need to be guaranteed effective protection and to be assured of growing up in a healthy environment. With regard to situations of serious environmental contamination, national laws do not effectively punish air, water and soil pollution.
Air pollution is a key environmental challenge impacting children in Chile. An estimated 10 million people are exposed to an average annual concentration of MP2.5 above normal levels. The WHO declared that air pollution is responsible for at least 4,000 premature deaths of adults and children nationwide.
Children in Chile are affected by natural disasters, especially earthquakes, floods and fires. Chile scores 6.7/10 for flood risk in the Index for Risk Management (INFORM), a risk index for humanitarian crises and disasters. In 2017, there were 8,300 people displaced by flooding according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. According to the University of Chile, these natural disasters can increase the prevalence of mental illness in the population. Children are a group especially vulnerable to disasters, and complex traumas can result in psychological consequences that have long lasting impacts on their development.
Land acquisition in Chile primarily affects indigenous communities, especially in the context of extractive and construction operations. According to Land Mark, 3.1% of land in Chile is formally recognised as indigenous land. Chile has ratified ILO Convention No. 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples. At the time of its passing by the United Nations General Assembly, Chile also voted in favour of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
There is a special status for indigenous lands and natural resources in Chile in national laws. According to this legislation, indigenous people cannot be dispossessed from their land without the approval of the Indigenous Development National Corporation. However, national laws do not fully protect the right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC). The failure to obtain consent does not necessarily stop acquisition or resettlement, as long as the correct process was followed. In addition, there is no regulation of resettlement or compensation of vulnerable groups, for example, women and children.
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