On Friday, the Minister of the Interior, Rodrigo Hinzpeter, landed on Easter Island to speak with individuals from the four working groups that were created over two months ago. These working groups had been given 60 days to address the issues of: land, immigration, the legal status of the island, and development. It is believed that the Government will present the results of these working groups to the Rapa Nui on Sunday, October 24th.Although Hinzpeter went to the Island to “check on the progress being made,” he and several other government officials — including Mayor Raúl Celis, who heads the Easter Island Development Committee — met at La Moneda on Wednesday, October 20th to listen to and discuss the conclusions and proposals for action presented by the working groups.
While some on Easter Island are anxiously awaiting the Government’s report, Marisol Hito — the spokeswoman for 18 Rapa Nui clans — has already issued a statement faulting the government for not consulting the Rapa Nui people in coming to their conclusions. As such, Hito claims that the Government’s announcement should merely be seen as their ideas and that they should not be seen as binding. Further, any action taken by the Chilean Government with respect to their proposed solutions would violate ILO Convention 169′s right to consultation.
Other Developments from Easter Island
As we have posted before (here and here, for example), the catalyst for the Chilean Government’s decision to create four working groups for the Island stems from a series of peaceful takeovers of buildings throughout the Island by Rapa Nui clans. Nearly two months ago, one of these peaceful takeovers resulted in a conflict at the Hotel Hanga Roa between Rapa Nui and Chilean Special Forces. Since that time, the peaceful takeovers have continued — including at the Hotel Hanga Roa.
In addition to the buildings that have been occupied in the past, on Wednesday, October 20th, the Rapa Nui also began occupying the administrative wing of the Island’s only hospital, (although it should be noted that the protesters did not disrupt service to any new or existing patients with their actions).
Finally, earlier this week — on Monday, October 18th — the Undersecretary of Regional Development, Miguel Flores, landed on the Island to examine the progress being made with respect to land issues addressed by the government two months ago. That visit lasted until Wednesday, and a final resolution on the land issue should be coming soon — if the Government goes forth with what it said before, the result would be 26 families receiving titles to their lands.