Tag Archives: Land Rights

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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Barrick Gold Admits Wrongdoing; Diaguita Communities Seek Revocation of License

Barrick Gold, owner of the Pascua Lama mine that spans the Chile-Argentina border, appeared in front of a Chilean court again on Monday, August 26th. This time, however, the multi-billion dollar corporation admitted that it had violated  environmental regulations in the construction of its mining operation. The admission comes four months after a group of Diaguita communities successfully won a court case against the corporation and effectively shut down their operations. Continue reading

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Argentina: Tonocoté Violently Evicted from Land then Offerred New Housing

On Friday, May 24th, approximately twenty-three Tonocoté families — located in north-central Argentina — were violently evicted from their community of more than 200 years. According to news reports, dozens of police mounted on horseback used rubber bullets, tear gas, and dogs to force the Tonocoté people out of their community. Once the people were free from the area, the land was quickly bulldozed in preparation for a real estate development that will allegedly be put on the land. The eviction drew the ire of many human rights organizations, including Greenpeace who “condemned” the “illegal” eviction. 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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Supreme Court Rejects Atacameño Communities’ Consultation Argument in Tourism Concession Case

Last week, on November 22nd, the Chilean Supreme Court issued its ruling on yet another indigenous consultation case and, once again, ruled in favor of the Chilean government. The Court found that consultation was not necessary in relation to the passing of a regulation that grants tourism concessions in protected areas — even protected areas that constitute ancestral lands for indigenous peoples. In doing so, the Supreme Court upheld — without additional discussion — the ruling made by the Santiago Court of Appeals in September. Continue reading

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Chilean Court Rejects Indigenous Claims to Consultation on Geothermal Projects

Last Friday, November 16th, the Court of Appeals in Santiago struck a blow to indigenous rights when it issued its ruling in three cases brought by indigenous communities and organizations to halt a number of geothermal exploration concessions that were granted without prior consultation. In each instance, the Santiago Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Energy Ministry, which was responsible for granting the concessions earlier this year. Continue reading

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Mapuche Hunger Strikers Reach Day 40; Attorneys Argue in Front of Supreme Court

On Thursday, October 4th, attorneys for four Mapuche prisoners who were sentenced for a variety of alleged crimes, including attempted murder of police officers, went before the criminal chamber of the Chilean Supreme Court. The attorneys argued for a mistrial and dismissal of the convictions based on a lack of evidence. Additionally, arguments were made to apply the American Convention on Civil Rights and the International Labor Organization Convention 169 on Indigenous Peoples to the prisoners’ prison conditions, which could allow them additional prison privileges. The Supreme Court is expected to announce its decision with respect to these issues on October 24, 2012. Continue reading

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