Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sin Alianza ni Concertación respetuosas de los derechos del pueblo mapuche en forma eficiente: Denunciar es construir justicia y democracia

Carta al Primer Ministro de Canada y Autoridades de las Primeras Naciones de Canadá:
Por la justicia y por vida de los huelguistas de hambre, presos políticos Mapuche.

30 August 2012

The Right Hon. Stephen Harper
Prime Minister of Canada
Ottawa, Canada

Re: Increasing concerns regarding the deteriorating status of Human Rights of Mapuche People in Chile (Chile’s largest First Nations)

Dear Prime Minister,

It is with great concern that I am addressing the state of Chile’s First Nations People Rights (Mapuche or People from the Land). They are account for approximately 9% of Chile’s population.

For centuries they have suffered discrimination and violent plundering of their lands. A destructive approach to their Nations’ Rights, culture, conceptual understanding of the world and of their living conditions has been imposed. They live in extreme poverty and under continuous repression from Chile’s authorities. This deteriorated during the Dictatorship and, unfortunately, the post military ruling has not provided solutions. Worst of all, these days, they live under a harsh “dirty war”, expressed in total exclusion, racism, legal system that discriminates and establishes a judiciary system that violates all rules of Due Process. Communities are under attack by militarized Special Forces. I have visited all political prisoners in the different prisons as well as their communities and families. I have examined and advised proper care for the prisoners who have been subjected to torture and for children who were seriously wounded with armed weapons and physical and psychological ill treatments. I have seen their people -elderly, women and children included- shot at; their homes attacked with tear gas and other toxic compounds. Children are tortured and there are many international reports as evidence to it.
Mapuche leaders and political activities for demands that are under the scope of Covenant 169, of ILO are criminalized, hence they are detained under the practical terms of the Anti-Terrorist Law, albeit its pretended “humanisation”, it continues to be used under different names but maintaining prolonged detentions, having no definitive mandatory rules for trials. “Protected witnesses”, in country where there is no terrorism other that the mentioned attacks, are routinely used as it is also the case for the use of torture against prisoner in order to obtain “confessions”. International legal observers have concluded after attending their trials that there is a definite prevarication in Chile’s Judiciary system.  (Rapport of Ms Mireille Fanon-Mendès France: version francaise:  Condemned people have seen their appeals rejected by Chile’s Supreme Court as it accepted the rules applied by the tribunals. . 

More recently, Chile’s offices for UNICEF were occupied by Mapuche families in protest for the violent and bloody attack on their communities and, particularly the shooting of Mapuche children in both their community and in the city of Collipulli. This occupation faced immediately the threat of violent police ejection, which was not accepted by UNICEF local Director, Mr. Tom Olsen. As the UN nor UNICEF have yet established a firm and efficient demand to the Chilean government that would put an end to this institutionalized violence against their children and families, they have initiated a hunger strike.

Furthermore, five Mapuche political prisoners have also started a hunger strike. This is in the city of Angol. They are on their 4th day of Hunger Strike for their lawless trials and in support of their just, democratic and peaceful demands (demands supported by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples). Hunger strike is a last human resor in the presence of harsh repression and lawlessness. And these people are not guilty: they have simply stated their demands.

Chile has signed the ILO (UN) 169 Covenant, the UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples as well as those related to the prohibition of torture, of protection to women, children and elderly, of the rights of people to exert their right of speech, culture, language and education. These rights, unfortunately in today’s’ Chile, are hidden under a blanket of pseudo democracy. Chile continues to live under the Constitution established under gunpoint by dictator Pinochet himself; Change is not possible under that Constitution –which is massively rejected by Chileans. Today there is a countrywide demand for its proper, democratic repeal: This is with a Constitutional Assembly that will permit democratic expression of all sectors of Chile’s civil society. Although all post Pinochet governments of Chile promised it, they did not change the Constitution: It maintains still, the same system of inequity previously existing.

These concerns, Mr Prime Minister, make me to respectfully request your intervention, as Canada does in situations where human rights are violated, at an international level and, directly and publicly, vis-à-vis the Chilean government and authorities and to President Sebastian Piñera whom you have already met.

These people on hunger strike must not be pushed to the end of their lives, as it occurs when people have simply no option to a legal and humanely acceptable quality of life.

I would appreciate your prompt and effective response on these unfortunate facts lived by Chile.

Respectfully submitted.

I remain, yours, sincerely

José Venturelli, MD
Spokesperson for the European Secretariat of Chile’s “Ethical Commission Against Torture” (CECT-SE)
Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University, Canada.
International Spokesperson for the Human Rights Commission of Chile’s College of Physicians

Encl. Rapport of Day 3 of Hunger Strike of five Mapuche Political Prisoners in the prison of Angol, Chile

Cc: Chief Shwan Atleo, Assembly of First nations of Canada,
David Sweet, MP for Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale

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