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Abuse of Chilean indigenous peoples questioned by human rights organizations

Monday, August 6th 2012 - 21:30 UTC
Full article 11 comments
Ongoing clashes between Carabineros and Mapuches who reject encroachment of ancestral lands Ongoing clashes between Carabineros and Mapuches who reject encroachment of ancestral lands

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) spoke out against human rights violations in the Araucanía region in south-central Chile on Thursday, calling on the government to investigate the chain of events last week resulting in the injuries of two minors by police bullets.

“The IACHR urges the state to investigate the facts and sanction those responsible, and to adopt measures in order to avoid in the future the excessive use of force in these operations,” the statement said.

The IACHR also urged the Chilean government “to adopt special measures of protection of children in this type of police action.”

Last week’s incident was the result of an eviction by police of 12 indigenous Mapuche protesters from the La Romana and Montenegro forestry plantations, which they had occupied. After protesters were transported to a nearby hospital, another scuffle broke out between Carabineros, Chile’s uniformed police, and other Mapuches who were at he hospital to visit the detained protesters. In the struggle, a 12- and 16-year-old were hit by police buckshot.

The IACHR declaration also said that on the way to the hospital, the protesters “allegedly suffered humiliation, were beaten and sexually abused by the Carabineros”.

Violent confrontations such as these are not uncommon in the Araucanía region. According to figures from the regional district attorney’s office, 95 violent acts were registered in the region in the first five months of 2012, nearly triple the amount registered over the same period the year before. Many of these acts, such as last week’s occupation, are Mapuche protests carried out against private corporations, especially agricultural and forestry companies, which many Mapuches consider to be encroaching on their ancestral land.

This incident, coupled with the subsequent resolution by the government to increase police presence in the region, drew particular national and international attention. In the following days, opposition politicians requested a human rights observer from the UN South American High Commission of Human Rights and National Institute of Human Rights (INDH) Director Lorena Fries travelled to the region to produce a report on the situation.

Mapuche protesters also peacefully occupied the regional Unicef office, demanding the withdrawal of police forces from the region.

By Helen Cordery and David Pedigo - The Santiago Times

Categories: Politics, Latin America.

Top Comments

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  • Sergio Vega

    The abuvusive behaviour start fron the parents of those kids, nearly the legal majority age in Chile at 18, that used to hide behind them when they attack private properties nad thir owners, mainly little farmers that have wasted a life to get their properties in good shape.....
    Those parents attitude is from irresponsible people that must be not allowed to take care of their kids....because they are teaching them on violence and exposing them to the peace control meassures from the authority through the police forces as the Chilean Constitution demand to keep safe the people that is doing the job to give to their families a good life and to the country a better developement, peacefully and hardworking.
    When somebody throw stones with slingshots, makes shots with a gun, put on fire a house or barracks, block the raods with big stones, trees and burning tires to isolate the quiet little farmer´s families to intimidate them, then the authorities response is well known wherever you restore the order and to protect the victims from the cowards attacks.....Is it what Human Right pursue, isn´t it? Have those farmers and their families Human Rights too, haven´t them? Or...Are the Human Rights just for those that are supported by left wing NGO's and Gvts. as those indigenous are...?? The most of the indigenous

    Aug 06th, 2012 - 10:16 pm 0
  • rj

    What about Human Rights abuses in Venezuela and Cuba? Why doesn't Inter-American Commission on Human Rights publicise those as often as they occur (proportionally?). I am aware that MercoPress only reports on South Cone issues; however, it is only too obvious how IACHR requieres excessive proofs for Human Rights abuses when they occur in leftist governments in order to take action. On the other hand, when they occur in right leaning countries, they do not hesitate to anounce anything that might hint a human right abuse. Too many leftist leaders have never been cited by the international human rights courts, whereas their counterparts are constantly being cited. I request for IACHR to be impartial and publicise all cases with the same fervor; please leave personal political inclinations aside.

    Aug 07th, 2012 - 03:44 pm 0
  • Yuleno

    It's never in your house that the human rights are abused,and it's always the behaviour of the indigenous that's the issue.
    You need to stand in the shoes of the abused,even if its your imagination,for a while instead of blaming the abused.Thats another facet of abuse

    Aug 07th, 2012 - 03:56 pm 0
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