Category Archives: Rapa Nui

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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International Observers Conclude that Chile’s Imposed Regime on Rapa Nui Violates Human Rights

On May 23, 2013, multiple Chilean news outlets posted articles (here, here and here) about a report made to the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs that detailed the relationship between Chile and the Rapa Nui people — ultimately concluding that Chile’s regime on Easter Island violates the Rapa Nui peoples’ rights to territory, self-determination, and political participation. Additionally, the report specifically lays out rights under the American Convention on Human Rights that have been violated and provides several pages of recommendations on how the human rights situation of the Rapa Nui might be improved. Continue reading

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Chile Announces Project to Restore Ancestral Gardens of the Rapa Nui People

From 500 to 1500 C.E., the Rapa Nui people utilized a type of gardening that relied on small, semi-circular stone structures known as “manavai” to protect plants from wind and other harmful elements. Now, a joint project involving the municipal government on Easter Island, the Chilean national forestry corporation (CONAF), and the Inter-American Development Bank, are seeking to restore a number of these ancestral gardens — the ruins of which many still exist. The long-term goal is to preserve Rapa Nui agriculture, promote cultural education, and increase ethno-tourism on the Island. 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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Rapa Nui Land Case Loses at Chile’s Supreme Court

The Chilean Supreme Court unanimously rejected arguments made by the Hito clan of the Rapa Nui people in a case about lands on Easter Island. The Hito clan has been trying for years to regain control over a parcel of land that was traditionally in their possession, but that currently is the site for the Hotel Hanga Roa — a luxury hotel on the Island. The Supreme Court’s rejection included statements that, in 1888, all inhabitants on Easter Island became illegal squatters; that the land in question was legally transferred from ancestors of the Hito clan to non-indigenous people; and that the land in question no longer qualifies as “indigenous land” within the meaning of the law, thus special protections are unnecessary. A spokesperson for the Hito clan has indicated that they will continue to fight for their land rights in the political arena. The option of approaching international tribunals also remains open. Continue reading

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Amnesty International Highlights Indigenous Situation in Argentina, Chile, and Paraguay

On Thursday, May 24th, Amnesty International released its annual report entitled, “The State of the World’s Human Rights.” The document, which is more than 400 pages long, highlights major global human rights issues and then examines the human rights situation country-by-country. Indigenous peoples’ rights are discussed in the context of 14 different country reports, including: Argentina, Chile, and Paraguay. Below is a summary of what Amnesty International had to say about indigenous rights in each of those countries. If you’d like to review the entire document, you can download the entire English version here. Continue reading

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Chile’s National Human Rights Institute Releases Annual Reports, Criticizes Chile on Indigenous Rights

On Thursday, December 15th, Chile’s Instituto Nacional de Derechos Humanos (National Human Rights Institute) or INDH, released its second annual report on the situation of human rights within Chile. INDH was created by the Chilean government in 2009, but is a fully-autonomous governmental unit. This year’s report was very critical of the Chilean government’s handling of human rights in a number of areas, including how it has handled them with respect to indigenous peoples. Specifically, the report dedicated an entire chapter to indigenous rights within Chileand below is a summary of the topics covered. Continue reading

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Rapa Nui March After Legislation to Limit Visitors on Easter Island Fails

On Saturday, December 3rd, approximately 400 Rapa Nui people marched to express their disappointment about recent legislation that failed to get through Chile’s lower branch of Congress, the Chamber of Deputies (la Cámara de Diputados). The legislation, if passed, would have limited the number of visitors to Easter Island as well as the number of individuals who could move and set-up residency on the Island. Although the legislation failed to get through the Chamber, it has not died completely and will make its way to a joint committee that will re-examine the law and offer suggested modifications. Continue reading

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Court Rejects Rapa Nui Claim to Hotel Hanga Roa Land

In a decision written on Tuesday, August 16th, the Valparaíso Court of Appeals rejected the claim of the Hito clan (Rapa Nui) that they are the proper owners of the lands where the Hotel Hanga Roa sits (on Easter Island). The Court grounded its decision on the fact that the Hito clan could not provide proper documentation demonstrating that they had inherited the land from their ancestors. The Hito’s lawyer has indicated that the Court failed to take into account international rights and said the decision will be appealed. Continue reading

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Rapa Nui Groups Hold Human Rights Seminar; Reject Consultation Process

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). Continue reading

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