Jul 30, 2002

Mapuche Delegation lobby European Parliament

The Mapuche indigenous people from Chile, the UNPO's sole member in Latin America, petitioned the European Parliament in July. The Mapuche delegation, under the leadership of well-known and respected spokes-person and activist, Nicolasa Quintreman, visited the EP in Brussels, as well as international organizations in Geneva from 5 - 20 July 2002. They are supported by various Mapuche organizations and foundations in Europe. The objective was to inform the EP of the plight of the Mapuche, who are increasingly marginalised by mega development projects in Chile conducted on their ancestral land.
Projects such as the Ralco hydro-electricity dam bring about great damage to the environment and the land on which the Mapuche are dependent for their sustained livelihood. The delegation hopes to expose the role of multinationals such as ENDESA and various European paper and pulp companies.
The Mapuchees have already gained the support of several members of the Spanish Parliament. They also lobbied for the creation of a special UN Com-mission to investigate the rights of indigenous peoples in Chile.