Chile: Fanny Sonia Pollarolo Villa

I am convinced that the end of discrimination will not only benefit the victims, but it will also improve the quality of life and the culture in our country.

— Fanny Sonia Pollarolo Villa

Fanny Pollarolo's role in Chile's political, cultural and social arena is momentous and irreplaceable. As a Member of Parliament, she has had a fundamental role in the legal defense of sexual minorities. She has been a driving force in the decriminalization of sodomy and was the creator of the Aids law, which was passed to fix the responsibility of the State in that matter. Her work has been crucial for bringing together different sectors whose common aim is to build a democracy respectful of the rights of a diverse society.

Linares, a city in the south of Santiago, the capital of Chile, is an important farming and livestock center. Fanny Pollarolo was born there in 1935. Her community work began as a doctor and Psychiatry professor. After the state coup of 1973, she went into exile in Argentina, where she remained until 1975. “During the period of repression, I went back to the country to work for the Vicariate for Solidarity, and the Foundation for Social Aid, directed by the Christian Church.” In 1977, she set up the Medical Psychiatric Program for the victims of repression, which she directed until 1986. “There, I was able to learn about the effects caused by torture, exile and other severe violations of human rights.” Until the end of the military dictatorship in 1990, she was in the front of the fight for the return of democracy. As a Member of Parliament for the Socialist Party, her work between 1994 and 2002 “focused on the situation of children, adolescents lacking schooling, homosexual communities, people with HIV, and the defense of women's right to sexual and reproductive health, without discrimination, coercion or violence.” “From a young age, we women are treated as if we have no ability to make decisions about ourselves.” That was her statement during a convention to mobilize people against the banning of the pill for preventing pregnancy. “The shortage of information and the systematic neglect of women's sexual rights affect mostly adolescents of poor backgrounds, who are the mothers of almost 40,000 of the children born in Chile every year.” Today, Fanny works on the National Council for the Control of Narcotics (Conace), where she is dedicated to the rehabilitation of children living on the streets. Her leadership continues to put the quality and feeling of the women's work at the service of the population.

Consejo Nacional para el Control de Estupefacientes (Conace)