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  • Supreme Court Finds in Favor of Mapuche Leader Facundo Jones.

    Supreme Court Finds in Favor of Mapuche Leader Facundo Jones. | Photo: TeleSUR English

Published 30 January 2019

The lawyer for the Mapuches, Amaya Alves, is demanding that the State respect and implement the right to consultation in strict observance of international law.

Chile’s Mapuche community from Araucania made public on Sunday a communique defending their stance against Plan to Promote Auracania and the National Accord for Peace in Araucania.

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The Mapuches also criticized the Chilean government's double standards of conducting two different policies related to human rights. They argued that while the State condemns the Venezuelan government’s “alleged” human rights violations, their rights are being ignored at home.

The community is awaiting a ruling by the Temuco Court of Appeals regarding the right of consultation for indigenous peoples which they believe would lead to “obtaining justice regarding the Plan to Promote Auracania.”

The lawyer for the Mapuches, Amaya Alves, is demanding that the State respect and implement the right to consultation in strict observance of international law, specifically the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention C169, 1989, of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The Mapuches are concerned that these government policies promoted by President Sebastian Piñera are designed in a way that excludes the families as well as traditional authorities from having any form of incidence in local decision-making.

Convention C169 is the most important binding legal instrument guaranteeing the rights of indigenous peoples. C169 contains a special clause on the right to “prior consultation,” which has the objective of “achieving agreement of consent to the proposed measures.”

Chile ratified the convention in 2008. The Mapuches also denounced state inertia in the development of measures and state capacities to implement C169 after 11 years of inaction.

The type of circumstances where the clause would come into effect refers to activities involving logging, agribusiness, and the exploitation of non-renewable natural resources such as mineral and petroleum.

The historical conflict in Araucania has been characterized by tensions between Mapuche communities and authorities, and some of the delegations expressed their concerns about increasing violence and repression.

In 2018, the killing of Mapuche member Camilo Catrillanca who was shot in the back by a Carabinero while driving a tractor led to a series of social protest which was met by heavy repression by state law enforcement.

Araucania possesses a wealth of natural resources including virgin forests and it has been subject to indiscriminate logging, burning of woodlands, as well as agricultural practices which have depleted and eroded the soil.

Starting in the 1990s, the State conducted a violent takeover of Mapuche lands in the region generating a conflict with the indigenous communities which has claimed the lives of hundreds of leaders and residents.

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