Open letter from Mapuche organisations based in Europe
3rd September, 2002
To human rights and environmental organisations and groups which support the cause of indigenous peoples.
As Mapuche residents in the countries of the European Union, we are writing to you with our profound concerns regarding the critical situation faced by our Mapuche brothers and sisters in Chile.
The European Union and the Chilean government have signed the free-trade agreement which has to be ratified, firstly by the parliaments of the 15 member countries of the European Union and then by the European Parliament.
We are writing to you to ask you to contact your respective local MPs and MEPs in order to demand that they withhold from ratifying the European Union/Chile Free Trade Agreement until such time as the Chilean Government takes the necessary measures to guarantee that human rights and environmental legislation in Chile are respected. This would bring Chile into line with International Law, established by international organisations together with the constitutional agreements currently in force in the member states of the European Community.
During the dictatorship of Pinochet the Mapuche people were brutally oppressed and stripped of their constitutional rights. Twelve years after the re-establishment of democracy in Chile nothing has changed. The Mapuche people have the highest rates of infant mortality, unemployment and illiteracy. Life expectancy is ten years lower than that of the rest of the population of Chile. Racial discrimination and intolerance are everyday realities. The seizure of Mapuche land by the state and by private individuals continues unabated. The Chilean state has initiated a variety of infrastructural projects in Mapuche areas which directly affects the living conditions of Mapuche people. The fact that hydro-electric dams and landfill sites are created in these areas, that roads are built through sacred sites, that logging companies are allowed to fell native species of trees on Mapuche land and replace them with pine monoculture, shows how critical the situation of the Mapuche people of Chile is.
The Chilean government refuses to ratify Convention 169 of the ILO (International Labour Organisation) of 1989 concerning indigenous and tribal peoples. In July this year the Chilean Senate's Commission for Constitutional, Legislative and Judicial Affairs rejected demands that indigenous people be recognised in the political constitution of the country.
We hope you will support us and we offer you our thanks in advance!
Mapuche Documentation Center, Ñuke Mapu
Department of Sociology
P.O. Box 821
S-751 08 Uppsala, Sweden
Tel: +46 (18) 471 15 04
Fax: +46 (18) 471 11 70
Mapuche International Link
6 Lodge Street,
Bristol. BS1 5LR, UK.
Tel/Fax +44-117-927 9391
Council of Indigenous Peoples (Holland) (IRN)
1825 HB Alkmaar
Committee for Indian of The Armericas (Belgium)
Rue du Fond des Cuves 19,
B-5190 Jemeppe sur Sambre,
E- mail: email@example.com
Enclosed please find, for your information, the following documents:
- Letter to the MP and MEPs from the European Mapuche Organisations
- Background information of the Mapuche Nation
- Proposed resolutions of the EU on the violation of Human Rights of the Mapuche of Chile
- List of Mapuche Political Prisoners
- 9 February 1994 Resolution on the International Aims of Effective Protection of Indigenous Peoples
For further information see below:
Mapuche Documentation Center, Ñuke Mapu : http://www.soc.uu.se/mapuche
Mapuche International Link: http://www.mapuche-nation.org