In May 2014, UNPO submitted an alternative report to the UN Human Rights Committee, outlining the widespread violations of the rights of the Mapuche in Chile.
UNPO submitted an alternative report on the human rights situation of Chile for the 111th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Committee on July 7-25, 2014. The Human Rights Committee is a body of independent experts that monitors the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by the States which have ratified the Covenant. UNPO has submitted a report to assist with the evaluation of the current human rights situation of indigenous peoples in Chile, focusing on the Mapuche.
The Mapuche are an indigenous people living in poverty as a consequence of the bereavement of their ancestral lands. The discriminatory application of anti-terrorism laws, as explicated in the pre-sessional alternative report issued by UNPO in 2013, are symbolic for their status in Chilean society. Even when mechanisms for the representation of indigenous peoples are established by the government, indigenous leaders are not consulted during this process.
Several of these issues have been addressed by the Chilean government since the last session discussing Chile in 2013. After the most recent hunger strike marathon (April 7 – May 15), the government agreed to review the antiterrorism laws within a period of sixty days. The outcome of this revision is remains to be established, but the revision session provides an opportune moment for the Chilean government to work towards a better compliance with the Covenant. Similarly, the constitutional recognition of the Mapuche and the foundation of a Council of Indigenous Peoples are on the Chilean political agenda, but concrete results are lacking so far.
Hence, UNPO recommends the following with regards to Chile’s improvement of compliance with the ICCPR:
1. Grant constitutional recognition of indigenous peoples
2. Ensure the consultation of indigenous peoples in all decisions of relevance
3. Grant self-determination through the foundation of an Indigenous Peoples’ Council
4. Condemn and punish all cases of misconduct by the police – be it warrantless raids, destruction of property, property confiscation, or otherwise.
5. Where police brutality leads to loss of life, provide compensation to the families of the deceased
6. Revise the Anti-Terrorism Act, addressing the following issues:
- The use of ‘faceless witnesses’
- Arrest and release without a detention control hearing
- The aspect of proportionality of crime and sentence
- Drop charges against minors being prosecuted under this law
- Prosecute all cases involving civilians in the civilian justice system.
7. Create legislation to safeguard the Mapuche’s and other indigenous people’s right to use ancestral land, even if not exclusively occupied.
8. Establish a mechanism by which to enable the restitution of ancestral land to the Mapuche and other indigenous peoples, with appropriate compensation for affected third parties.
9. Consult with Mapuche communities regarding the commercialisation of their culture, in order to come to a mutually satisfactory arrangement.
10. Encourage the use, study and learning of indigenous languages, including Mapudungun.
11. Ensure fair and unbiased media representation of the Mapuche and their land claims.
12. Establish approaches designed to portray indigenous people in a positive lightImplement educational programmes at primary and secondary school levels to teach students about Mapuche history, culture and tradition.
13. Promote the development of indigenous media, including by increasing opportunities for indigenous journalists.
14. Implement all reforms necessary in order to give effect to the ILO Convention No 169.
15. Reform the system of political representation so as to give a voice to indigenous communities.
16. Legal safeguarding of ancestral lands from environmental damage which is detrimental to the traditional Mapuche lifestyle.