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2010-12-20 | Antecedentes | Mapuche
A follow up:
Mapuche people (Chile’s largest First Nation) continue under severe repression
It is with thanks and solidarity with USW Local 8782 that we are sending these lines. As you know, Chile’s largest First Nation: the Mapuche people, have suffered five centuries of repression, exclusion an imposed poverty. Since Pinochet’s dictatorship and for the 20 years post open dictatorship the Mapuche has continued to suffer repression and a form of Apartheid. In October 18 you sent a letter to the Hon. Laurence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, requesting Canada to demand from the Chilean government to uphold basic tenants of the international community related to Human Rights of First nations in Chile.
* President, United Steel Workers – Local 8782
* Executive Member United Steel Workers Local 8782
Dear Mr Bill Ferguson and Randy Graham,
Dear friends from Local 8782
You mentioned the need to specifically respect the Convention 169 of the ILO as it relates to Indigenous people, as well the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples. Other people, from all over the world demonstrated their solidarity. Mapuche Political prisoners engaged in a long and heroic hunger strike which sat a clear example of civility and respect for human rights.
In spite of the widespread support, Canada did not express such requests to the Chilean government. Human Rights’ organizations failed to have an unequivocal response and action from the Canadian government in these matters. We did not receive a reply from Foreign Affairs or form the Prime Minster, The Hon. Stephen Harper, on this respect.
Allow us inform you where matters stand as of now. In spite of President Piñera having himself pushed issues that pretended to link Mapuche leaders with Colombia’s guerrilla not one shred of evidence could be presented. The so called assault on Prosecutor Mario Elgueta, turned to be a mounted accusation against all the trialed people. Many of them have already been in prison for almost two years, again, with no evidences. The Chilean militarized police have shown to torture, destroys entire communities abuse children and to even torture them. Ample evidence of these has been presented to the Chilean Courts –where nothing is being done- and to International legal bodies, where Chile has been consistently reprimanded for its continues violation to all levels of Mapuche people, from infants to elderly, women, peasants and workers of that nation. Chile has violated UN principles that demand an end to discrimination and racism. Still persists in using these acts only against them, accusing them of terrorism without ever been able show its evidence.
You may be aware that Chile's President and Government made promises to change the pattern of repression and would set new democratic approaches to the hunger strikers. Those negotiations were aimed at stopping their hunger strike. They included:
1. A new relationship with the Mapuche, based on respect, inclusion in all matters related to the welfare and historical demands. These included the proper use of the ILO Covenant 169, and cessation of violence.
2. Stopping the use of the Anti-Terrorist Act on their cases (Ley Anti-Terrorista -LAT). Such act was enacted by dictator Pinochet himself. No change has occurred. It has been used against more people than before, including minors who were tortured (there is video evidence of these).
3. End to double judgments: using both the Civilian Penal Code and the Military Justice (Justicia Militar) system. The latter is based on mandatory military obedience, and their members and judges are not legally educated: they have provided impunity to all military personnel involved in crimes by the dictatorship and to all those that commit crimes against the Mapuche people. Chile's police are the one that performs repression, which has gone into killings and the disappearance of a minor -Jose Huenulao, 2005. The individuals committing all those crimes have been clearly identified yet they remain in total impunity because it has been the Military Justice that took responsibility to process them.
4. Chile’s Government Committed itself to have proper legal due process during their trials (Juicios Justos): the Public Ministry has continued to use “Protected Witnesses who are faceless, do not present evidence and are either financially bribed or, given that many of these “witnesses” are petty criminals, they are “pardoned” for their own delinquent charges provided they declare against the Mapuche social activists. International Observers have attended Chile’s trials against the Mapuche leadership and have found most disturbing and unacceptable the use of the protected witnesses.
5. Protection to children and communities: although promised these continue to face militarized, massive assaults with harsh treatment to all people, torture included. This video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSOkQh3Dhl4 was shot with their phone by minors tortured by police at the time of their arrest. Brutal treatment continue during the negotiations around the hunger strike cessation. Several protection legal recourses have been presented for the continuous repression brought on to children.
These five aspects constitute the key elements put forth by the Mapuche hunger strikers -and were accepted by the government. Facts show that this is not being respected. None has been adequately. The Military Justice system, apparently removed from any action against the Mapuche, persists. This is under two forms: a) any accusation made by the police of action against them will lead to twice the number of years previously considered. Also police accusations are considered evidence... And b) In Chile persists a Military Justice system: this is the one that secures impunity to all crimes of the police forces.
It is in response to the stated information that we are asking you to facilitate a real return to democratic and humane behaviour in Chile. We believe Canadians and their authorities are able to support peace and democracy. It would be proper to have the Canadian government to make proper representations on these matters and to provide the obtained results in favour of Chile’s Mapuche people.
As Canadian workers have shown to provide solidarity in the past and given that today’s world brings people together in their defence of their rights, we look forward to your actions. We hope Canadian parliamentary, officials and people can contribute to true return to democratic processes.
Please, accept our sincere wishes for a successful New Year for your Local 8782 brothers.
Juan Carlos Magdalena
Retired member of USW Local 8782
José Venturelli, MD Prof Emeritus, McMaster University
Spokesperson, European Secretariat, Ethical Commission Against Torture
Both members of Ontario Group for Human Rights and Solidarity with the Mapuche People.
Fuente: Foro Escandinavo por los Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas