Jun 25, 2013

Joint Submission of Universal Periodic Review Outlines Human Rights Abuses Against Mapuche In Chile

UNPO, Gesellschaft Für Bedrohte Völker – RegionalGruppe Köln/Bonn, France Libertés – Fondation Danielle Mitterrand and Collectif FEWLA submitted a joint UPR report to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, drawing attention on the cultural, economic and political discriminations experienced by the Mapuche in Chile.

Photo by @patricio

UNPO, Gesellschaft Für Bedrohte Völker – RegionalGruppe Köln/Bonn, France Libertés – Fondation Danielle Mitterrand and Collectif FEWLA submitted a joint UPR report to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights ahead of the 18th Session, which will take place in Geneva from January to February 2014. You can access the full report by clicking on the link to it under "Attached Documents" on the right.

The UPR report focuses on the situation of the Mapuche population in Chile, the largest indigenous people but also the poorest and most marginalized ethnic group in Chile. The issues the report focuses on include economic and social discrimination, preservation of Mapuche culture and environment, restitution of ancestral lands, self-determination and representation, the discriminatory application of the anti-terrorism law, and police abuse.

Although Chile is reputed as one of the most stable and prosperous countries in South America, not all have benefited equally from its democratic and economic development. There are huge differences in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals as far as education, gender equality and alphabetization are concerned. The constitutional recognition of the Mapuche would be an essential step enabling them to freely pursue their economic, social but also cultural development, the cultural and linguistic diversity in Chile being more and more threatened.

The discrimination faced by the Mapuche is historical; in 1881 they lost not only their independence but also 93% of their original lands, the situation got worse with the “indigenous Peoples Law” implemented by Pinochet in 1979. This report denounces the improper actions led by the government to deal with the land claims, as well as the lack of concerns about the native resources which are affected by forestry companies, hydroelectric dams and highways constructions.

The dearth of political representation and the lack of participation of indigenous people are also issues that need to be tackled urgently as this obviously hampers the opportunity to address their outstanding demand. The proposition for new regulation on the consultation and participation of indigenous peoples has to be review for that it does not comply with international standards.

Finally, the UPR report highlights the inappropriate use of the anti-terrorism law. This law 12.314 established under the Pinochet regime to enable the swift processing of dissident is not conform to both international standards and the Chilean Constitution and is abusively applied to Mapuche activists. Added to this discriminatory law is the issue of police violence against the Mapuche and the impunity from which the police benefit.


The alternative report concluded with the following recommendations to the government of Chile:


1. Create legislation to safeguard the Mapuche’s land other indigenous people’s right to use ancestral land, even if not exclusively occupied. 

2. Establish a mechanism by which to enable restitution of ancestral land to the Mapuche and other indigenous peoples, with appropriate compensation for affected third parties. 

3. Consult with Mapuche communities regarding commercialization of their culture. 

4. Encourage the use, study and learning of indigenous languages, including Mapudungun. 

5. Implement educational programmes at primary and secondary school to teach students about Mapuche history, culture and tradition. 

6.Ensure fair and unbiased media representation of the Mapuche and their land claims.  

7.Promote the development of indigenous media, including by increasing opportunities for indigenous journalists. 

8.Grant constitutional recognition of the Mapuche and other indigenous people.  

9. Reform the system of political representation so as to give a voice to indigenous communities.

10.Implement all reforms necessary in order to give effect to the ILO Convention No 169.  

11. Ratify the Optional Protocol for the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. 

12.Investigate thoroughly, and take punitive action where appropriate, all reported instances of police brutality, especially where loss of life, or women and children, are present.  

13. Prosecute all cases involving civilians in the civilian justice system.  

14.Stop the discriminatory prosecution of the Mapuche people under Ley 18.314.Abandon the practice of warrantless raids. 

15. Drop the charges being prosecuted under the antiterrorism law that are levied against minors. 

16. Abolish the practice of Mapuche arrest and release without a detention control hearing.  

17. Condemn and punish the practice of house destruction and property confiscation during raids. 

18.Encourage fair police practices, especially with regards to justified and proportionate uses of force.