(lingua: spagnolo, dur.: 4’36”)
Since the 12th July 31 Mapuche political prisoners have been on hunger strike in the Chilean prisons of Concepcion, Temuco, Valdivia, Angol and Lebu. The political prisoners are demanding the right to a fair legal process, the application of an objective and impartial system of justice and, in particular, the abolition of the anti-terrorist law.
The fact that indigenous political prisoners have been forced to take such drastic action is due to the fact that during the last decade the anti-terrorist law [No.18.314] – enacted during the Pinochet dictatorship – is applied exclusively to Mapuche political leaders and to members of its communities. There have been calls for the repeal of this law by the majority of international human rights organisations, including the Ethical Committee Against Torture, whose report was discussed in August 2009 by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
The application of the anti-terrorist law violates the human rights of citizens who are exercising their right to protest and asking for the right of ownership over their ancestral lands and respect for their way of life and cultural identity. The UN Human Rights Council, in a number of Special Reports, has recommended that the anti-terrorist law not be applied to the demonstrations and protests of the Mapuche people in their claims for justice. These recommendations state that the implementation of this law does not guarantee a fair trial and they provide background information on those cases where rights have been violated. The use of ‘faceless’ witnesses, keeping the accused in custody indefinitely, and subjecting the accused to a simultaneous double trial, under both civilian and military law, are all issues that have been highlighted.
During the last 10 years in Chile ethnic persecution has risen at an alarming rate. Currently, 37 Mapuche political leaders are detained in various prisons in southern Chile. Of these, 28 prisoners have been indicted or convicted under the anti-terrorism law. In total there are 60 community members either in prison or on parole awaiting sentence or living under restrictive precautionary measures. Three Mapuches have had to seek political asylum, one in Argentina and two in Switzerland, and five Mapuches have died as a result of shootings and torture by the Chilean police.
The Chilean government and parliament are under obligation to initiate a process of dialogue with the political prisoners on hunger strike. It is necessary to rectify the discriminatory policies applied to the historic demands of the Mapuche people, which the Chilean state continues to violate. The Chilean state has an obligation to respect its commitment to the international instruments to which it has subscribed, such as Convention 169 of the ILO and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and to end the repression and persecution of Mapuche leaders.
We emphasize the following.
Mapuche and solidarity organizations of Europe and North America express our support for the Mapuche political prisoners on hunger strike. We support their demands for justice in order to:
1. end institutionalized violence against the Mapuche and repeal the anti-terrorist law
2. end the policy of militarization in Mapuche areas
3. ensure respect for the guarantees of due process and release the Mapuche political prisoners currently incarcerated
4. repeal the system of “double simultaneous trials” before military tribunals and civil courts. Guarantee the protection of the accused.
5. political and territorial rights, autonomy and self determination. Rights recognised in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, ratified by Chile on September 13, 2007.
6. we reaffirm that the Mapuche nation has a legitimate right to fight for the recovery and reconstruction of its ancestral territory, usurped by the Chilean state. Territories formally recognized in international treaties by the Spanish Empire and the Chilean state.
7. we communicate that we will continue our work denouncing the Chilean state for its racist and repressive policies against the Mapuche nation.