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  • Mapuche political prisoners demands the effective application of Convention 169 of International Labor Organization.

    Mapuche political prisoners demands the effective application of Convention 169 of International Labor Organization. | Photo: EFE

Published 7 August 2020
Opinion

The talks came after the Mapuche communities' continuous demands that the government attends the needs of political prisoners on a hunger strike, which had not happened until now.

Chile's Minister of Justice and Human Rights, Hernan Larrain, met virtually on Friday with representatives of the Mapuche political prisoner and spiritual authority (Machi) Celestino Cordova, who is currently in prison and on hunger strike for over 90 days. Celestino says that the Mapuche worldview has not been respected, among other issues, during his prison regime.

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Chile: Mapuche Political Prisoners Begin "Dry" Hunger Strike

About the meeting, Larrain said that the machi representatives "referred in general terms to the problem of the penitentiary regulations that do not reflect the situation affecting native peoples.

They made concrete proposals that "could be incorporated into the prison regulations" –he added- considering the Convention 169 of International Labor Organization (ILO).

The Chilean Minister of Justice and representative for the Government in the meeting considered the above mentioned as the basis to recognize the worldview and customs of those native peoples who are serving sentences so that they can implement them while they serve their sentence.

However, Machi Celestino Cordoba will go on with the hunger strike. "The issue is still pending, Minister Larrain simply spoke about it."

They demolish monuments of the famous genocide of the Chilean army that participated in the misnamed "pacification of Araucanía."

The spokespersons for the prisoners at the city of Angol Prison, who began a '' dry" hunger strike in support of Celestino Cordova, were also called to the meeting. Still, they declined to talk to the Government.

"We've been told they have a new petition, but we don't know it yet," said the Chilean Government's representative. With no further details, he just insisted on spaces for dialogue.

Since last May 4, the Mapuche spiritual authority has been on a hunger strike in Temuco prison at Araucania, demanding the right to pass the health crisis in his sacred space known as "rewe."

Since then, machi Cordova has been joined by other native political prisoners in the cities of Angol and Lebu. They also denounced the violation of the rights of the Mapuche people established by ILO's 169 Convention, ratified by the Chilean State.

The Friday talks came after the Mapuche communities' continuous demands for the Government to attend to the political prisoners on hunger strike, which had not happened until now.

The meeting also took place after last weekend's incidents in Araucania when Mapuche citizens who occupied several town halls in support of the striking prisoners were attacked by far right-wing civilians without the intervention of the police and violently evicted.

These riots have triggered multiple reactions in the face of the violence and racism perpetrated against these native people.

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