What Defines the Victims of Human Rights Violations? The Case of the Comité Pro Paz and Vicaría de la Solidaridad in Chile (1973–1992)

  • Oriana Bernasconi
  • Marcela Ruiz
  • Elizabeth Lira
Part of the St Antony's Series book series (STANTS)


Unlike most experiences of politically motivated state violence, the military dictatorship that took place in Chile (1973–1990) was contested throughout the regime through the work of victims’ assistance and defense carried out by civil society organizations. This chapter traces the provenance of the notions of victims used in the transitional period (1990–2011) by the democratic Chilean State to qualify and provide reparations to the victims of Pinochet dictatorship. It argues that—to a large extent—what defines these victims is the capacity of those human rights organizations’ archives to endorse or authenticate the testimonies told to the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions. Thus, we propose a need to turn from the question of who defines the victims to the question of what defines who the victims are, recognizing the mediating role played by infrastructures of registration.


Chile Human rights archives Infrastructure of registration Military dictatorship Transitional devices Victims 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Oriana Bernasconi
    • 1
  • Marcela Ruiz
    • 2
  • Elizabeth Lira
    • 3
  1. 1.Sociology DepartmentAlberto Hurtado UniversitySantiagoChile
  2. 2.Department of Literature and LanguagesAlberto Hurtado UniversitySantiagoChile
  3. 3.Faculty of PsychologyAlberto Hurtado UniversitySantiagoChile

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