May 19, 2010

Mapuche: Seek to Stop Construction of Airport in Arauncanía

Active ImageThe mega-project is in direct violation of Chilean law as indigenous peoples were not consulted about constructions on their ancestral lands.



Below is an article published by the Pulse:

Representatives from the 8 Mapuche communities that will be affected by the construction of an Airport on indigenous ancestral lands in the  Quepe Region of Arauncanía, Chile, appealed to the appellate court of Santiago today to stop the airport’s construction.
“What bothers us, is that they want to build an airport in a territory for which we have our own plans. We are  in the middle of seeking restitution of our lost-ancestral territories, and, nevertheless, the government wants to build an airport in the middle of this conflict ” says Juan Huenchual, a representative of the Mapuche tribes, “we’ve been run-over and hurt by the Ministry of Public Works in La Arauncanía. Here, they have repeatedly lied to us, and we hope that the government will make up for the offense” he concluded.
Today’s appeal corresponds with the release of a letter on behalf of the Mapuche people to Chilean president Sebastián Piñera, asking the government to implement measures that would work to stop human rights abuses against the indigenous tribe. In the letter, the Mapuche call for the abolition of the anti-terrorist law established under Pinochet, that, according to the Mapuche, is still being used to judged members of the Mapuche Nation without due process. Additionally, it calls for the end to the unwarranted persecution or Mapuche children, the establishment of an effective monitoring mechanism that would observe, analyze and take measures against the human rights abuses committed against the indigenous group (and that have already been condemned by international monitoring agencies such as UNICEF and the UN), and the return of Mapuche ancestral territories.