Centro de Documentación Mapuche Documentation Center

Press Release

Europe, 5 December 2003

Mapuche organisations today launches Campaign for the defence of the Human Rights of Mapuche political prisoners.

Mapuche organisations resident in Europe are beginning an international information campaign on the human rights and state of health of the Mapuche political prisoners on hunger strike in Chile.

In a letter addressed to Chilean President Ricardo Lagos, they state:

"We express our concern over the health of the Mapuche political prisoners on hunger strike in various Chilean prisons. We are aware of the critical condition of Patricia Troncoso, who has been subject to a prison régime for more than 14 months and has been on hunger strike since 12 October."

In particular, the release is demanded of the sick prisoners held in the prisons of Temuco and Angol: Mireya Figueroa, Juan Antonio Colihuinca, Juan Patricio Marileo Saravia, and José Cariqueo Saravia.

In the document distributed to human rights organisations, political organisations and civil society, the Mapuches resident in Europe ask the latter to intercede with the Chilean authorities to demand that they release the Mapuche political prisoners, and also urge them to "declare their solidarity with the struggle of the Mapuche people for justice and freedom".

"In the Civil and Military Courts of Chile, hundreds of Mapuche community members are tried for various alleged offences relating to the recovery of their ancestral lands; more than a dozen Mapuche political leaders are currently imprisoned. In all these cases, the Chilean courts of justice selectively apply policies and laws inherited from the military dictatorship such as the Law of Internal Security of the State and the Anti-terrorist Law."

In the document, the human rights bodies are called upon "to contact the Chilean authorities, demanding that the rights of political prisoners are respected, in accordance with international norms, particularly those established by the Interamerican Convention to Prevent and Sanction Torture and the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination. We request the reaffirming of the requirement of unconditional respect for the international precepts on human rights". The document concludes by urging all to call upon the Chilean government to meet the demands of the Mapuche political prisoners on hunger strike.

For further information, contact:

Jorge Calbucura
Mapuche Documentation Centre, Ñuke Mapu
e-mail: edition@tredamer.net

Reynaldo Mariqueo
Mapuche International Link
e-mail: mil@mapuche-nation.org