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Speech of Machi Fidel Tranamil of the Makewe Territory before the UN Human Rights Council

UN Human Rights Council
United Nations
8th Session
Geneva, September 12-30th, 2011

Item 3: The promotion and protection of all human rights: civil, political, economic, social and cultural, including the right to development (general debate).

Statement on behalf of the International Association Against Torture.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

The promotion and protection of human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural, including the right to development for the Mapuche communities in the south of Chile have not progressed significantly in recent years. The demands of our communities, particularly those which are located in the Mapuche territory of Trapilwe Makewe, which I represent, have been criminalised.

The hundred year old process of alienation of our ancestral lands by individuals and national and international companies with the collusion of the Chilean authorities have impoverished our communities, thus preventing present generations from thriving and having a sustainable standard of living that respects nature. Development projects and those of infrastructure such as road construction, hydroelectric plants, including in particular, the current project for an airport in the territory of Makewe-Trapilwe have been carried out without consulting the communities involved which is in contravention of ILO Convention 169.

The legitimate social protests are violently interrupted by the Chilean police who have indiscriminately arrested participants including women, the elderly and children. It is public knowledge that there are house searches, arbitrary detentions, kidnappings, threats, intimidation and both physical and psychological torture.

A child of our community, Francisco Painevilo, of 14 years of age, was on the 5th of October 2009, detained and taken to a helicopter, and then threatened with being thrown out of it if he did not incriminate himself or the leaders of his community. After 2 years of a criminal complaint been filed against the police, as yet there has been no result.

The present Chilean government does not have the political desire to implement publicly a policy of return of land to the affected communities. This is compounded by the negligence of the judicial system to administer justice and is causing increased mobilisation of deprived communities which are then suppressed with extreme violence, use of weapons and highly toxic gases. These are being used especially in Mapuche territories resulting in physical and psychological damage and serious trauma in children who we demand should receive medical rehabilitation and appropriate compensation from the authorities.

Thank you very much Mr President.

Fidel Tranamil Nahuel
Machi and Political Representative.
Makewe Territory.


Translated: by Suzanna Ashton

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