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Madame Simonetta SOMMARUGA
Département fédéral de justice et police
Palais fédéral ouest 3003 Berne
Fax 031,32278 32

August 28th 2013

Ref: Political asylum for Flor Calfunao Paillalef

Dear Ms. Sommaruga,

Mapuche International Link would like to express our deep concern over the deportation order that Flor Calfunao Paillalef, the Mapuche Apo-werken (ambassador) to the United Nations in Geneva, is currently facing after her application for political asylum was rejected. It is important to note that Flor Calfunao’s work in Geneva is of great importance in the promotion and defence of the rights of the Mapuche People.

In Chile the Antiterrorist Law and the Internal State Security Law, which are remnants from Pinochet’s regime, have been used against many human rights defenders. Many have been imprisoned, tortured or forced into exile just for defending the collective and individual rights of the Mapuche People.

We believe that the deportation order puts Flor Calfunao at serious risk, given that her return to Chile is sure to provoke reprisals or some form of harassment, as has happened to hundreds of Mapuche activists and leaders. This is due to her active participation in international campaigns denouncing the abuse of human rights in Chile. Flor Calfunao belongs to a family with a long tradition of defending human rights and which has been the object of persistent and sustained political persecution going back several generations, including terrible violations of human rights.

On 20th September 2011 an important number of authorities from the Mapuche Nation appointed Flor Calfunao Paillalef and Reynaldo Mariqueo to organise a Permanent Mapuche Mission to the United Nations. Since then the Mapuche Mission has been strengthened with new members.

The decision of the Mapuche authorities to create the Mission is based on the fact that the Mapuche People were an independent, free and sovereign nation and their territory was recognised in more than thirty treaties with Spain, including after the independence by both Chile and Argentina. In addition, the principles of the Mapuche Mission are aligned with modern international standards, including the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which recognize the right of all peoples to autonomy and self-determination.

For more information we attach a document with details of the Mapuche Mission and the human rights situation which is affecting her community and the Mapuche People in general.

For the aforementioned reasons we appeal to you and urgently request you to exercise all your influence so that the deportation order is reconsidered and Flor Calfunao can continue her important work as the representative of the Mapuche People to the United Nations.

Yours sincerely,

Dame-Nina Saleh Ahmed

Vice-General Secretary
Mapuche International Link


  1. A l'attention du Conseiller d'Etat. Monsieur Pierre MAUDET, Place de la Taconnerie 7 cP 3962, 1"211 Genève 3 . fax 022 327 91 00.

  2. A l'attention de la Maire, Madame Sandrine SALERNO, Rue de l'Hôtel-de-Ville 5
    1211 Genève.

  3. Office fédéral des migrations (ODM) Suiza. Gerald Bovier (presidente du collège)
Yanick Felley, Fulvio Haefeli, juges,
Alexsandre Dafflon, greffier.
Office Federal des migrations
Querllenweg 6, 3003 Berne, Suisse.

  4. Mr Didier Burkhalter, Conseiller Fédéral en charge du Département des Affaires Etrangères (DFAE)

  5. James Anaya, Relator Especial sobre los Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas de la ONU Email :

  6. Ben Emmerson, Relator Especial de las Naciones Unidas sobre la promoción y la protección de los derechos humanos y libertades fundamentales en la lucha contra el terrorismo ONU Email :

  7. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women CEDAW, ONU Email:

  8. ELISA – ASILE, Thao Pam Email Assistance juridique aux requérant-e-s d'asile ; Case postale 110, 1211 Genève 7, Tél : 022 733 37 57; Fax : 022 930 00 49:

  9. Mapuche Permanent Mission to the United Nations. 56, Rue de Monchoisy, 1207, Genève, Switzerland. Tel: +41-(0)22-320 4974 - e-mail:


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