jueves, 2 de junio de 2011

UK NGO’s appeal to Chile for justice for jailed Mapuche hunger strikers/Day 80


In response to the wishes of the families of Mapuche political prisoners on hunger strike for the international community to maintain solidarity with their loved ones, Mapuche International Link, the International Human Rights Project and the UK Association of Chilean ex-Political Prisoners will hold a demonstration, today (2nd June) outside the Chilean Embassy in London.
The protest will be a public display of solidarity with the four indigenous ancestral land rights activists Héctor Llaitul, Ramón Llanquileo, Jonathan Huillical and José Huenuche, now entering their eightieth day of hunger strike with two of the men hospitalised and two remaining under 24 hour medical surveillance in Angol prison, Chile. The men were convicted using elements of the controversial Anti-Terrorist Law, used by Chile to target Mapuche individuals and organisations that campaign for rights over their ancestral territory known as Wallmapu in the native Mapuche mother tongue.

MIL General Secretary Reynaldo Mariqueo, himself a Mapuche, was forced to flee political persecution in Chile during the dictatorship of General Pinochet, seeking asylum in the UK in the 1970’s. Yesterday he had this to say about the march: “We want to show our support for the men on hunger strike and their families. They are demanding a fair trial without the application of the Anti-Terrorist Law, a law which is currently utilised to criminalise the just democratic demands of the Mapuche people, in reality this law is used to illegally terrorise an indigenous nation and their just democratic aspirations.”

Initially introduced by General Pinochet as a means by which to stifle democratic dissent, the law has been widely condemned by many significant members of the international human rights community including the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Indigenous Peoples, Professor James Anaya, the World Organisation Against Torture and Human Rights Watch, for permitting the use of anonymous witnesses, the trial of civilians in military courts, indefinite pre-trial detention, and the issue of disproportionate and weighty sentences. On Friday, June 3rd, the Chilean Supreme Court will decide whether or not the four men on hunger strike will be granted a re-trial on the grounds of mis-trial.

Last week Archbishop Ricardo Ezzati, who had previously served as a mediator in the 2010 Mapuche hunger strike, met with both Supreme Court President Milton Juica and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Amerigo Incalcaterra regarding the 2011hunger strike. In a recent El Mercurio newspaper interview he maintained “It is not sufficient to keep ourselves so focused on this phenomenon of hunger strikes”. “The deeper issues have to be addressed here in regards to human rights.” Whilst Fernando Chomali, recently appointed Archbishop of Concepción, and regional facilitator met with Secretary General Larroulet to discuss what will be done in the event of the Supreme Court declaring a mis-trial. However though the Catholic church are again playing a philanthropic role in their efforts to encourage a mutually beneficial, life saving long term resolution to the historic tensions between the Chilean state and persecuted Mapuche leaders. President Piñera appears to be holding his characteristically silent stance on the situation in failing to instigate a dialogue with the hunger strikers whilst simultaneously requesting prosecutors in advance of the hearing to prepare an appeal should the court declare a mistrial, and thus prevent the accused Mapuche leaders from leaving prison.

The 2011 Mapuche hunger strike has been the most recent expression of protest of a historic indigenous national discontent induced by nearly 130 years of illegal annexation of Wallmapu, the Mapuche ancestral territory encompassing all of the land South of the Bio-Bio river in Chile and of the Colorado river in Argentina, an area according to signed historic treaties between the Mapuche nation and the Spanish Crown and latterly independent Chilean and Argentinean republics which rightfully belongs to the Mapuche people. Today this age old conflict is fuelled, in breach of ILO Convention 169, by a systematic lack of consultation of Mapuche people by the Chilean government and with forestry farming extraction and energy companies both national and international, by the military occupation of Mapuche territory and by a failure of the Chilean state to return Mapuche ancestral lands to the Mapuche people, thus preventing justice, equality and self determination for the Mapuche people. Whilst Anti-Terrorist Law has been used as a pivotal tool in the cruel and unethical prevention of the attainment of Mapuche aspirations which signify the birthright of an entire indigenous nation.

All four hunger strikers are currently in a serious condition and require round the clock medical care. Today is their eightieth day without food and their survival will depend on the responses of the Chilean government. Please show your opposition to Chile’s use of the draconian Anti Terrorist Law against its indigenous people by joining our protest on Thursday, June 2nd in front of the Chilean embassy (37-41 Old Queen St, London SW1H 9JA), between 1.00 and 2.00pm.

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