On Tuesday, August 9th, more than 200 Rapa Nui individuals participated in a human rights seminar that covered a wide variety of issues related to indigenous rights. The seminar took place on Easter Island and included multiple Rapa Nui clans as well as the Rapa Nui Parliament and Makenu Re’o Rapa Nui (the organization of Rapa Nui women). Presenting at the seminar were individuals from Observatorio Ciudadano (an NGO based in Temuco, Chile), the Indian Law Resource Center (based in Washington D.C.), the International Working Group on Indigenous Affairs (an international organization based in Copenhagen, Denmark), and the University of Auckland (New Zealand).
In addition to presentations on many topics, there was much discussion of issues of importance to the Rapa Nui people. Specifically, there was widespread agreement among the attendees to reject Chile’s national consultation process. There was also much concern about recent actions by CONAF taken to “protect” certain portions of the Island’s coastline since the decision was made without appropriate consultation (as required under ILO Convention 169) with the Rapa Nui people. And finally, there was widespread condemnation of the actions taken by the Chilean government that resulted in the use of force at various times on the Island in the past year.