Friday, 19 July 2024

Textile Details

'No a la impunidad / No to impunity', Anonymous. (Photo: Tony Boyle)
'No a la impunidad / No to impunity', Anonymous. (Photo: Tony Boyle)


Title of Textile:No a la impunidad / No to impunity
Maker: Anonymous
Country of Origin: Chile
Year Produced: 1987
Size (cm): 49cm x 39cm
Materials: Scraps of material hand sewn onto burlap
Type of Textile: Arpillera

This arpillera dates from the latter years of the Pinochet regime in Chile. It is a classical arpillera, framed by the sun and mountains. It was made for export to highlight the reality worldwide of the struggle that saw women in public protests chanting "we want democracy" and demanding "Truth, Justice and Reconciliation."

For these women, already very engaged with the struggle for democracy, saying ”No to impunity” was a core element of this struggle. In their opinion, law 2191, known as the Amnesty law (Amnesty to the perpetrators), written in 1977 by the then minister of Justice, Mónica Madariaga, was a retrograde step.

This law, written five years after the start of the military coup that took power from the democratically elected President, Salvador Allende, was enacted in 1978 in order to avoid legal action in all cases of human rights violation from 1973-1978.

In 1998 Chile’s Supreme Court ruled that the law should not apply to cases of human rights violations, paving the way for investigations in cases of detention, disappearances, torture, and execution to proceed. This resulted in prosecutions and prison sentences for former agents of Pinochet’s secret police (Dirección de Inteligencia Nacional, DINA).

These prosecutions are positive steps in progressing the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation process. However, the 1978 Amnesty Law is still valid and it was only in 2010 that a bill to nullify it was brought to parliament; a bill which is still being debated. Declaring it void: “would force Chile to come face-to-face with its troubled past and finally send the message that the abuses of the Pinochet era will not be tolerated again.” claims Guadalupe Marengo, Americas Deputy Director at Amnesty International.(Amnesty, 2015) Chile: Amnesty law keeps Pinochet’s legacy alive .

Successive democratic governments have promised but failed to comply with an Inter-American Court of Human Rights verdict, and numerous UN body reports and recommendations, to have the law revoked, annulled, or otherwise removed. They argue that it is not possible in Chilean legal practice to 'dissolve' a law with retroactive effect; that it is not necessary to remove it legislatively because it has been overcome interpretively by Court practice and that the Chilean Supreme Court has come to recognise that amnesty cannot be applied to crimes against humanity. Human Rights organisations dispute this argument.

The Amnesty law still remains technically in force and on the statute books but is being disapplied on a case by case basis.

Owner: Ulster Museum collection
Location: Ulster Museum, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Original / Replica: Original
Photographer: Tony Boyle
Provenance: Acquired from Conflict Textiles collection (2022). Provenance Lala & Austin Winkley, England.

Textile exhibited at: Arpilleras e resistência política no Chile , 30/07/2011 - 30/10/2011
Arpilleras of Chilean political resistance , 22/03/2012 - 5/06/2012
Stitching and Unstitching The Troubles-phase 1, 5/09/2012 - 29/09/2012
Stitching and Unstitching The Troubles-phase 2, 13/04/2013 - 29/06/2013
Arpilleras in contested spaces, 3/09/2013 - 6/09/2013
RETAZOS TESTIMONIALES: arpilleras de Chile y otras latitudes, 28/09/2013 - 10/11/2013
SMALL Actions BIG Movements, 1/07/2014 - 11/07/2014
COSIENDO PAZ: Conflicto, Arpilleras, Memoria , 26/03/2015 - 30/09/2015
COSIENDO PAZ: Conflicto, Arpilleras, Memoria, 8/10/2015 - 4/04/2016
COSIENDO PAZ: Conflicto, Arpilleras, Memoria , 13/04/2016 - 12/06/2016
Stitched Voices / Lleisiau wedi eu Pwytho, 25/03/2017 - 13/05/2017
Stitched Voices: Knowing conflict through textiles, 17/11/2017 - 20/12/2017
Stitched Voices - textila berättelse om politisk våld och motstånd , 29/08/2018 - 21/04/2019

Textile Detail Image(s)