Demand that the Mapuche Tribe be Given Back Their Ancestral Land

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Target: Chilean President Sebastián Piñera

Goal: End the decade long Mapuche-Chilean conflict and give the Mapuche tribe back their ancestral land.

The conflict between the Mapuche tribe and the Chilean government has been going on for decades. Recently, the conflict reached a boiling point with hunger strikes, international court prosecution and police clashes.

The state of Chile is not implementing the international treaties it signed which secured indigenous rights. The Mapuche want their ancestral land back, autonomy and recognition of their rights. Instead of focusing on solving the issue the state is trying to intimidate the Mapuche into not mobilizing.

The Mapuche are Chile’s largest indigenous group. They make up 1 million of Chile’s 16 million population. The Mapuche, which means “people of the land,” have been struggling to reclaim their land in southern Chile for years.

In 1974, the Chilean government allowed the logging industry to exploit Mapuche land. Now, the majority of the Mapuche’s land has been seized and given to multinational corporations. The struggle to regain their land has led to clashes with the police and logging companies.  The Chilean government has been using an anti-terrorism law put in place by dictator Pinochet in order to detain the Mapuche.

In 2002, police raided a Mapuche village detaining many and injuring others. A seventeen-year-old boy was killed in the process. The tragedy commenced a new era in the conflict which continues today where police raid Mapuche villages and detain those with weapons under the anti-terrorism law. The police say the raids are part of “preventative warfare.”

During the police raids Mapuche are often times beaten or shot with rubber bullets. Several injuries have been reported including injuries to children. The younger generation of Mapuche has only known racism and oppression from the state. The young Mapuche are now the ones mobilizing in efforts to get back their ancestor’s land.

Many of the Mapuche that are imprisoned have gone on hunger strikes for long periods of time. The hunger strikes have helped draw attention to the struggle. When President Piñera recently met with the European Union he was questioned over his commitment to the Mapuche struggle and to human rights.

Next year, the Chilean government will be prosecuted in the Inter-American Human Rights Court for violations to the Mapuche community under the anti-terrorism law. Slowly the Mapuche’s struggle is gaining more attention and gaining more support.

The Chilean government has signed several international treaties, including ILO 169, which protects indigenous rights. If these treaties were implemented the government would have to give back the Mapuche land and respect their rights. The government needs to provide solutions to the conflict and protect the rights of the Mapuche. Sign the petition to urge President Piñera to start dialogue with the Mapuche and resolve this long conflict.  

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Piñera,

The violent raids of the Mapuche communities and the detaining of the community members must be halted. The Chilean state must end the intimidation of the Mapuche community. I am asking that you enter into dialogue with the Mapuche community and listen to their pleas.

The conflict between the Mapuche and the Chilean state has gone on too long, it is time for peace. The Mapuche want their land back, autonomy and protection of their rights. The Mapuche are entitled to this according to several international treaties, including ILO 169, which the Chilean government has signed. I urge you to implement these treaties and end the conflict.

The Mapuche-Chilean conflict has resulted in death, abuse and violence. I demand that you take action to solve the conflict and protect the human rights of the Mapuche.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: pdh96 via Flickr

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