The Mapuche Nation filed a formal arbitration petition against the state of Chile before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. The international petition is supported by several Mapuche organizations. A renowned Spanish jurist has been proposed for the arbitrator position.
The ancestral authorities of the Mapuche Nation, the Mapuche Permanent Mission to the United Nations, the Mapuche Human Rights Commission, and the Kimche Defenders of Wallmapu, jointly presented an arbitration petition against the state of Chile for violating multiple national and international rights within Mapuche territories and against the Mapuche people.
Current treaties, signed by the Spaniards and subsequently by the state of Chile, have been violated, according to a press release by the joint Mapuche organizations. They say the treaties have been misused by extractive companies that are causing desertification, drought, fires, and pollution; and that, in turn, such has violated the rights of nature and the dignity of the Mapuche people, which is leading to a systematic extinction of Mapuche culture.
The indigenous Mapuche Nation has continued to demand the restitution of their ancestral territories, autonomy, self-determination, culture, and language. Currently, they are also resisting the neoliberal, extractivist model imposed by the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship, which they assert is carried on by the post-dictatorship administrations through the promotion, protection, and defense of the interests of forestry, mining, hydroelectric, and fishing corporations, among others. Agricultural, commercial, and residential developments have also been built in the ancestral territories of the Wallmapu, the press release stated.
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The Mapuche Nation alleges a long string of abuse
The Mapuche allege many abuses against the state of Chile:
- That, in the past, administrations under previous presidents have applied Chile’s anti-terrorist law against the Mapuche, which consists of the criminalization of the Mapuche social protest and the use of private security to protect the interests of private landowners.
- That, today, the Mapuche suffer from harassment, raids, detentions, false accusations, criminalization, torture and death; that the raids of their communities include officers of the state indiscriminately beating them, shooting them, tear gassing them, and seizing their tools and vehicles; that the torture even includes the torture of children who the state labels terrorists.
Appropriate measures should be taken to ensure that such acts do not go unpunished, and the only way to end this conflict is for the state of Chile to return the Mapuche’s original territories and respect the signed treaties, the press release concluded.
It has been suggested that Baltasar Garzón Real be the arbitrator for the case.
Chongyang Zhang is pursuing an Erasmus Mundus Joint Master’s program in journalism, media and globalisation. His interest lies in the relations among the United States, Latin America and China. He is currently doing an exchange semester at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile.