Mapuche Human Rights Commission – Auspice Stella
Comisión Mapuche de Derechos Humanos - MHRC
6 Lodge Street, BRISTOL BS1 5LR, United Kingdom
Phone/fax: +44-(0)117 927 9391
Human Rights Council
Agenda item 3
Geneva, 8 - 26 September, 2014
Promotion and Protection of all human rights, civil,
political, economic, social and cultural rights,
including the right to development.
Statement delivery by Auspice Stella*
Thank you Mr Vice-President,
I wish to draw the attention of the Human Rights Council to the ongoing situation in Chile involving indigenous Mapuche communities protesting against the planned construction of a further three hydroelectric dams along the Pilmaiquen River. Specifically, the protests have centred on the Osorno dam, which has been met with strong resistance from the Huilliche community. The proposed project threatens to flood an area of approximately 300 hectares, along 18 kilometres of the river. Most worryingly, this also includes a ceremonial site, which is important to local communities as both a place of spiritual practice and as a graveyard for their ancestors.
A common feature of Chile’s hydroelectric development projects has been the failure to consult with and engage in discussions with the local indigenous population.
Image: Atus Mariqueo-Russell
delivering his Statement to the UN Human Rights Council on behalf of Auspice Stella – Mapuche Human Rights Commission
This is partly due to the outdated legal framework in Chile, which fails to provide adequate protection for indigenous communities and their legitimate claims to ancestral lands. However, with the ratification of ILO convention 169 in 2009, it is time that Chile lives up to its now-recognised responsibility to engage in consultation with affected indigenous communities before approving development projects in the regions in which they reside. Continued failure to do so directly contradicts article 17, section 2 of ILO Convention 169.
Furthermore, because of the spiritual and cultural significance of the area under threat, the failure to consult the community in this instance constitutes a repression of traditional Mapuche spirituality, which is explicitly prohibited by ILO Convention 169 Article 8 section 2, which states, in regards to indigenous people that, ‘These people shall have the right to retain their own customs and institutions’. We therefore call upon the government of Chile to honour its commitment of engaging with indigenous people in this and further development projects.
Auspice Stella – Mapuche Human Rights Commission
16th September, 2014
*Auspice Stella, ONG avec statut consultatif spécial auprès du Conseil Economique et Social des Nations Unies depuis 2013. Association Loi 1901 Sous le haut patronage du Prince d’Araucanie Siège social: La Chèze, 24640 Chourgnac d’Ans tél. : 02.32.53.88.68; mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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