On Friday, February 3rd, Chile’s National Institute of Human Rights (Instituto Nacional de Derechos Humanos or INDH) filed a case with the Temuco Court of Appeals on behalf of the Mapuche children and youth living in the Mapuche community of José Jineo. The allegations are that the police have engaged in conduct which has harmed the physical and mental integrity of minors in the region. INDH has said they hope the legal action will result in the court ordering whatever measures are necessary to protect the affected youths from future violations.
The case arose out of the events that took place on January 10th in the same community. At that time, an incident occurred — that was caught on video — where the police allegedly used unnecessary force again a woman who was holding her 2-year-old child in her arms at the time. The incident is just one, of many, police abuses that has been alleged in the Araucanía Region recently.
According to the community, “we and the children have been greatly affected and aren’t sleeping well. We are not asking for help solely for ourselves, but for all the children in the communities so that this doesn’t happen again, not to mention [to defend] the rights of children.”
The Regional Director of SENAME (the National Service for Minors), Claudia de la Hoz, echoed the community’s sentiments: “We have to repair the damage that the children suffered [from witnessing what happened] which had a traumatic effect on them, and they cannot sleep. For these reasons, we are having the children assessed by a psychologist in order to see what services are required [to help] the children.”