Mapuche hunger strike reaches critical stage

As a hunger strike by over 30 Mapuche political prisoners in Chile reaches a critical stage, international media attention is growing for their demands for an end to the anti-terrorist laws under which they were tried and convicted. These regressive laws remain on the books from the era of the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile, and have been routinely used against leaders of the Mapuche’s struggle to defend their land and autonomy. The hunger strike began on July 12, and many of the prisoners are now in very precarious health, having lost up to 18 kg.

– We call on the Chilean government to fulfil its task of defending and guaranteeing the rights of indigenous peoples according to international law and the rule of law, pursuant to various international treaties signed and ratified by the State of Chile international legal forum. Agreements as valued as Convention 169 of ILO and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (resolution 61/295 adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations) to guide and requires governments as to how to treat cases of ancestral land claims of native peoples.

– We call on the Chilean authorities to begin a process of dialogue and openness to the demands of the prisoners on hunger strike, immediately, in order not to advance in an escalation of violence against the Mapuche people and to rectify the current discriminatory policy applied to the historic demands of the Mapuche people of Chile that the State continues to violate.

Derrick O’Keefe

|September 10, 2010



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