September 20, 2008

Mapuche: Leader Not Allowed to Leave Country

Active ImageLonko Pascual Pichun was denied passage to Europe to attend European Forum.
The Following article has been translated from Spanish by UNPO, to read the Spanish version click here.

The ‘Organizacion de Solidaridad’ with the community of Mapuche Gulamtun of Malmo, Sweden; the Organisation of Kimeltuchefe Mapuche Professors wish to communicate the following to the international community:

This week – from the 17th to the 21st of September [2008] one of the most relevant and important events in the European Political calendar will take place.  It will bring 22.000 representatives and activists from various syndicates, civil and environmental organisations and representatives from numerous indigenous communities together.  

Considering the grim situation that the Mapuche community finds itself in under the current neoliberal government of Michelle Bachelet – which continues to over-exploit natural resources, the European Forum requested that Mapuche Pichun attend the event.  

Lonko Pascual Pichun has long struggled alongside the Mapuche community and political allies to improve the territorial, economic, social and cultural rights of the Mapuche.  As a result of his activism Pascual Pichun was accused, arbitrarily prosecuted and sentenced to five years of prison under anti-terrorist law applied by current Chilean State actors and members of the business and finance sector.

We denounce the evident racist, hegemonic, excluding and antidemocratic character of the Chilean State, most apparent in their dealings with political authorities from the Mapuche community. We denounce this behaviour for as long as it continues with its persecution style politics – as long as it abuses the rights of participation and movement – refusing to return Lonko Pichun his passport – a document they held all morning of Monday the 15th September [2008] in the Registry office in Santiago – only returning it to him hours after the plane that would take him to the European Forum in Sweden, had taken off.

Using methods such as this, the Chilean Government endeavours to isolate the Mapuche movement from international forums – as such, preventing the criticism of civil and human rights violations which Chilean indigenous communities suffer at the hands of the Chilean State itself. 

We urge the Chilean Government to assume responsibility for this political act.  We ask them to, immediately reissue lonko Pascual Pichun his ticket in a manner that is unconditional and that will allow him to travel and participate in the European Forum, where his presence and participation is expected.

We call upon the Mapuche community and social, political, student and professional organisations from within Chilean society to harshly condemn this event.  We call upon them to persist in putting a stop to these political persecutions – to put a stop to the criminalization of the Mapuche movement and to restore political and land rights that belong to the Mapuche community-nation. 

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