While Chilean ex-Minister of the Interior, Jose Miguel Insulza, assumes the post of Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General, Chile’s indigenous Mapuche bring their case to that same organization, accusing the Chilean government of human rights violations. Having exhausted resources for the Mapuche leader’s defense, the denunciation is being presented before the OAS with the objective of restoring the honor of the Mapuche authority, and securing an end to the use of anti-terrorism legislation against the Mapuche people.
The case presented before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH) of the OAS highlights the Nov. 2004 sentencing of Mapuche leader and public figure Víctor Ancalaf as a result of the conflict over the installation of a hydroelectric dam in the Bio Bio region of Chile.
Ancalaf was condemned by Chilean courts to 5 years and a day with no possibility of parole, based on accusations of having perpetrated incendiary attacks on trucks and a backhoe that were used in the construction of the Ralco Hydroelectric Power Station of the transnational corporation, ENDESA, in September of 2001 and March of 2002.
The denunciation before the CIDH is brought on behalf of 71 leaders of different Mapuche organizations and territorial identities. The majority of the organizations are associated with the Coordinating Group of Organizations and Territorial Identities. The groups are pursuing redress within the OAS because of discriminatory processes within the Chilean justice system, including the use of the anti-terrorism legislation (Law 18.314) and the withholding of due process.
The case of Ancalaf is symbolic in that it reflects the persecution on the part of the Chilean government that continues to victimize the Mapuche people and their leaders through repression, judicial attacks andcriminalization of their demands for human rights, argue the organizations.
The case of Ancalaf is also supported by a human rights legal team including the Center for Social Legal Studies and Indigenous Documentation of the University of Art and Social Sciences (ARCIS), Indigenous People’s Rights Watch, and Codepu of Valdivia, among others. The denunciation categorizes Ancalaf’s case as a “grave violation of the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights on the part of the Chilean government which is responsible for the summons, trial, and later sentencing of Mapuche leader Víctor Manuel Ancalaf Llaupe.”
For Ancalaf, together with the Mapuche organizations, the denunciation is being made because the anti-terrorism legislation, which has repeatedly been applied against the Mapuche, presents a permanent threat to the Mapuche people. “What we’re seeking from the Commission, is the clearing of Ancalaf’s name and restoration of his honor as a Mapuche authority unjustly condemned by the Chilean government utilizing imprudent legislation, completely disproportionate to the accusations being made,” said Alfredo Seguel, working group leader of the Coordinating Group of Organizations and Territorial Identities. “The denunciation also demands that the Chilean government terminate all current prosecutions of Mapuche activists accused under this unjust anti-terrorist legislation.”
(Mapuchexpress, via Rebelión, May 30. More information on the Bio-Bio hydro project available at Mapuchexpress.)
See also WW4 REPORT #95