November 9, 2004

Mapuche Representatives before the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Untitled Document

The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights heard a series of statements from representatives of non-governmental organizations with respect to the situation of Mapuche People in Chile.

The Representative of Asociaciyn Americana De Juristas said it was a pity that Chile that had good macroeconomic plans was deficient in democracy. With regard to the rights of indigenous peoples, the situation was devastating. Although the Government had designed a law in recognition of the rights of the indigenous peoples, the Congress had systematically evaded adopting the text. The territories of the Mapuche indigenous people had been flooded with the mega dam project which had degraded the living conditions of those people. The measures to prosecute the leaders of the Mapuche people had also continued under the present regime. Further measures had also been stepped up against the Mapuche people under the new anti-terrorist act.

The Representative of Mapuche Temulemu Community said the Mapuche were opposed to the use of their forest areas. However, the Government was using laws and other measures to protect investors who used their lands. Chile disregarded the Mapuche political and social structure by detaining their leaders and invading their territories. Added to those acts was the practice of racial discrimination against Mapuche individuals. Through its regular military and police raids, the Government had been traumatizing and terrorizing the Mapuche people. Whenever Mapuche children saw men in uniform, they shed tears of fear. Many Mapuches were unable to present complaints to the judiciary because of the repressive reprisal by the State. Two days ago, a 17-year old Mapuche youth had been shot and killed by police.

The Representative of the Consejo De Los Tierras recommended that all indigenous communities be recognized by the State of Chile within the context of self-determination. Chile should fully implement ILO Convention number 169 on the rights of indigenous peoples. All indigenous peoples should receive compensation for the loss of their properties.

Source: United Nations

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