The Mapuche people have demanded respect for their rights and have organized themselves to protect them. In response, the Chilean state has deployed massive military forces in Mapuche territories and has criminalized their leaders, with several fatalities and over 100 political prisoners. Over 20 years, the several Chilean administrations that followed the dictatorship have been unrelenting in applying the Antiterrorism Law enacted by Pinochet to all Mapuche dissent. According to this law, the state has the right to detain individuals on the basis of suspicion of terrorism and to keep them in custody for a minimum of two years, without the need to submit evidence or charges, nor provide them with a public defender. As a result of this policy, 106 Mapuches –two of them minors– are kept in Chilean prisons or under house arrest.
However, this policy has not only been restricted to violating the political rights of Mapuche people. It has gone further to militarizing the area, with a considerable impact on the communities at large, including men, women, children and the elderly. This is an overt violation of their collective rights enshrined in the United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights and in Convention No. 169 of the International Labor Organization.
This escalation of violence has led to deep and severe impacts on children. In view of the fact that the country is in legal breach of its commitment to comply with the provisions under the International Charter of Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, we call on the relevant agencies and other member states to assume their international commitments by urging the Chilean authorities to ratify their commitments with specific actions to protect the full realization of all the rights established in the United Nations Charter and in international Human Rights laws and treaties. Furthermore, they should ensure that such commitments are honored through the follow-up provided in international law, in view of the deliberate violation by the Chilean state of Article 19 of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, which provides as follows:
1. States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.
2. Such protective measures should, as appropriate, include effective procedures for the establishment of social programmes to provide necessary support for the child and for those who have the care of the child, as well as for other forms of prevention and for identification, reporting, referral, investigation, treatment and follow-up of instances of child maltreatment described heretofore, and, as appropriate, for judicial involvement.
The institutional violence against Mapuche children and youth has been ongoing during several years.
Some cases reported. Time line:
Torture, degrading and inhumane treatment against Mapuche children. November 20, 2010 – Universal Children’s Day
Increasing and excessive violence has been used by the Chilean Police Force (Carabineros) and by the Special Operations Group of the Chilean Policy Force against Mapuche communities, local inhabitants, children, youth and the elderly in the past few weeks, even with several children wounded by bullets. This is compounded by the psychological trauma faced by Mapuche children, a heavy burden to be carried for the rest of their lives. In the past week, two children (8 and 13 years old) were shot in the Province of Ercilla.
We hence demand from your organization:
1. To investigate the cases of violence against Mapuche children who have been short and ensure their safety. Provide or help provide financial means for medical treatment, for instance in the case of Leonardo Quijón and other children. Monitor and demand justice in cases of institutional violence from the Chilean state and some individuals protected by it. Provide constant advice and support to the families of affected minors until each case is resolved.
2. Demand the Chilean state to remove police forces from the Mapuche communities.
3. Demand the Chilean state to put an end to the institutional repression against Mapuche communities, children and youth.
4. Look for funding sources to pay for attorneys’ fees in the cases of Mapuche minors accused of terrorism.
5. To address the Chilean government, which systematically violates international public laws and the conventions it has ratified.
6. We also demand that you condemn the violations of human rights, including those that affect children.