Category Archives: Mapuche

Inter-American Court of Human Rights Finds in Favor of Mapuche Individuals

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the highest judicial body of the Organization of American States (OAS), reached a decision in favor of eight Mapuche individuals who claimed that Chile’s use of the Anti-Terrorism Law against them violated their rights. The decision was written on May 29, 2014 and was later made public during the week of July 28, 2014. The Court found that Chile’s Anti-Terrorism Law denied the eight Mapuche individuals a number of due process rights and ordered Chile to vacate their judgments against the individuals and to compensate them for the violations. The case was a historic victory for the Mapuche and their supporters who have been protesting the use of the Anti-Terrorism law against their people for many years.

For coverage on the case in English, check out the Santiago Time’s article.

The Court’s full decision (in Spanish) can be downloaded here.

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Chilean Congress to Formally Question Interior Minister on Mapuche Conflict

Published yesterday in the Santiago Times, the Chilean Congress has voted to bring Chile’s Minister of the Interior, Rodrigo Peñailillo, in for formal questioning on the current administration’s handling (since taking over in March) of the ongoing Mapuche conflict in the Araucanía. Some claim the move is political in nature, although there is a general consensus that violence over land and other rights has increased in the area in recent months. The complete article can be found here.

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Mapuche-Huilliche Community Granted Coastal Rights

It was reported yesterday (01-15-2015) in Mapuexpress that the Mapuche-Huilliche Community of Wente Caulín was granted rights over coastal waters in Chiloé. Specifically, the coastal area near the community was designated an “Indigenous Peoples’ Marine Coastal Area” under Chilean law, which grants the community the right to use and administer the coastal region. The Mapuche-Huilliche Community of Wente Caulín is comprised of approximately 500 families and has fought for eight years to gain these rights. Continue reading

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Two Mapuche Communities Obtain Land Rights After 15 Years

In recent days, the Chilean government, through CONADI (Chile’s Indigenous development corporation) has returned title to lands in two different Mapuche communities. In the Mapuche community of Manuel Levinao (located in the Lautaro commune of the Araucanía region), 250 hectares (~1 square mile) were returned after being purchased by the Chilean government for nearly US$ 1.8 million. Meanwhile, the Mapuche community of Los Maitenes de Rihue (located in the Cañete commune of the Araucanía region) was given land title to a small parcel of land (~.04 square miles) valued at US$ 76,000. This small parcel increased the community’s land holdings to 265.3 hectares (~1.02 square miles), which the Chilean government has been slowly acquiring and returning to the community since 1997. Continue reading

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UN Instructs Chile to Return Indigenous Lands, Improve Consultation, and Redefine Anti-Terrorism Law

The United Nation’s Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) completed its 83rd session on August 30th in Geneva. During the session, CERD discussed Chile’s treatment of Indigenous peoples and offered some recommendations for the future. Specifically, CERD asked Chile: to speed up the process of returning lands to Indigenous peoples throughout the country; to improve Indigenous consultation, particularly with respect to natural resource development; and to “precisely define” crimes that fall under the Anti-Terrorism Law while ensuring the law is not used inappropriately against the Mapuche people. Continue reading

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Chilean Government Tests “Ethnic Patrols” Near Temuco

On Wednesday, May 29th, the Chilean police force unveiled a test project designed to improve relations between the police force and the Mapuche people — a relationship that, in certain parts of Chile, has involved significant amounts of violence. The project involves the use of “ethnic patrols,” which consist of trained police officers of Mapuche ethnicity who speak Mapuzungun (the Mapuche language). These patrols will also utilize specially-painted vehicles. Continue reading

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Mapuche Testify Against Chile Before Inter-American Court of Human Rights (OAS)

On Wednesday and Thursday (May 29-30, 2013), the Inter-American Court of Human Rights — a body of the Organization of American States — heard its first case against the Chilean state. The case actually involved three separate, but similar matters involving Mapuche individuals who had been subjected to Chile’s so-called Antiterrorism Law. The Antiterrorism Law has come under much criticism both internationally and from within Chile, and in this instance, the Mapuche individuals were presenting their testimony on how its application violated their human rights and were asking for its repeal. Continue reading

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Amnesty International’s 2013 Report Comments on Indigenous Situations in Argentina, Chile and Paraguay

On Wednesday, May 22nd, Amnesty International released its annual report entitled, Amnesty International Report 2013: The State of the World’s Human Rights. Within it is a wealth of information on global human rights in the form of short summaries of major events that have taken place in each country around the world. With respect to the Southern Cone, the report discusses the condition of human rights for indigenous peoples in Argentina, Chile and Paraguay. Those portions related to indigenous peoples are reprinted below. Continue reading

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Chilean Government Invests in Local Mapuche Language Courses

In a press release dated April 9th, CONADI (the Chilean government’s Indigenous development corporation) announced that it would invest approximately US$350,000 in Mapuzungun language courses (the language of the Mapuche people) in the Araucanía Region. The funding would operate much like a block grant and would go “directly to the communities, without intermediaries” according to Deputy Director Germán Riquelme Reuss. Reuss also stated that the goal was to have Mapuche language and culture taught in the traditional way by an elder with knowledge of those things. Continue reading

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Chile’s “Official” Indigenous Population More than Doubles with New Census Results

Last week, the Chilean government released the results of its 2012 Census efforts. The data collected on Indigenous peoples living in Chile for the Census was substantial. Specifically, the information collected indicated that there are more than 1.7 million people living in Chile who identify as Indigenous. As a percentage of the population, Indigenous people living in Chile now officially account for over 10% of the total population with more than 1/3 of all Indigenous peoples living in the nation’s capital, Santiago.  Both the raw number of Indigenous people and the percentage of the total population numbers are substantially higher than those collected in 2002. Continue reading

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