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Declaration from the International Organization for Human Rights 18.10 – Chile, One year after the October Uprising

Our international organization in defense of human rights was born as an answer to the state violence unleashed in Chile since October 18, 2019. Unjustified violence against anyone who was exercising her or his legitimate right to peaceful demonstration in response to the ever more profound injustices imposed by the neoliberal capitalist system.

Our condition as Chileans living abroad made us relive one of the worst moments in the history of our country and the impact it had on the lives of thousands of Chileans.

The shadow of Pinochet’s civic-military dictatorship

Today is the first anniversary of the October unrest in Chile. In these twelve months, renowned international human rights organisations have published six reports certifying the veracity of the complaints received by human rights defenders and disseminated through social media.

Chile Despertó!

Our organisation – at that time the Human Rights Committee within a self-organised network of Chileans abroad – coordinated the visit of a delegation of MEPs from 28 October to collect complaints directly from student associations, human rights defenders, trade unions, environmental activists and professional bodies such as the Chilean Medical Association.

Report of the visit to Chile

In December 2019 and January 2020, we published two legal reports with updated data, to denounce that the systematic violence committed by state agents and the lack of procedural guarantees for the victims had not diminished. Thus, on January 22nd, we had the opportunity to intervene in the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights:

In August – in the midst of the pandemic – we published a third legal report, this time much more specific to denounce the serious violations of the human rights of children and adolescents.

The global pandemic led the social movement to find new ways of mobilisation. And it laid bare the elements that underpinned the October 2019 Upheaval. The people were confronted with hunger and the denial of equality before the law for members of the Mapuche communities, political prisoners, workers, shanty town dwellers, students and environmental activists became evident.

And the response emerged with creativity, solidarity, anger, but at the same time with hope.

The organization of communal kitchens under the slogan “Only the people help the people” gave us the energy to reorganize, and to remember that the struggle for social justice continues with or without a pandemic.

Starting in May, the ancestral authority Machi Celestino Cordova, together with a group of political prisoners, carried out a hunger strike of more than 100 days to demand the application of ILO Convention 169 and for the modification of precautionary measures for the Mapuche and non-Mapuche political prisoners who have been charged, and the political prisoners of the social revolt.

The referendum that is supposed to change the constitution inherited from the civic-military dictatorship was rescheduled for 25 October.

We have yet to win what we are fighting for…

Repression at the hands of an increasingly violent and corrupt police force, which does not even respect its own protocols, trained with the collaboration of the US and European governments, and supported by the highest authorities of Piñera’s government, continues to leave victims in the face of the indifference of the international community.

Today, 18 October 2020, we reaffirm our work to support human rights defenders in Chilean territory and wallmapu. We will not stop knocking on doors to make the international community assume its political and historical responsibilities in the construction of a more just and united world.

Gabriel Gajardo

Article 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as Articles 15 and 16 of the American Convention on Human Rights, guarantees the right of assembly and freedom of association, therefore going out into the streets to demonstrate and protest is a human right that cannot be restricted by Member States.

General comment No. 37 (2020) on the right of peaceful assembly (article 21)

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New Report – Serious violations of the human rights of children in Chile

This report seeks to bring to light the vulnerability of children in Chile, analyzing the period from October 2019 to August 2020. The report was carried out by an interdisciplinary team and is mainly based on a review of official national and international written reports and documents, testimonies of children and adolescents, and journalistic investigations. All of the above ensures the reliability of this document, the contents of which are properly cited and attached in a transparent and clear manner.

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The Machi is Innocent

Machi Celestino Cordova, the spiritual authority of the Mapuche people, has been on a hunger strike for more than 105 days, demanding that the Chilean government of Sebastian Piñera allow the transfer of the location of where he is serving his sentence to his own community as well as for all Mapuche political prisoners. He is also demanding the release of all the Mapuche political prisoners who are on prolonged detention without bail – several of whom are also on hunger strike – as well as release of those on prolonged detention without bail who were arrested in the popular protests since October 2019. His demands are based on and in compliance with the ILO Convention 169, of which articles 8, 9 and 10 stipulate differentiated treatment for prisoners who are members of native peoples.

This film shows, once again, that Celestino Córdova is INNOCENT of the charges against him and that like many other Mapuche political prisoners, he was a victim of frame up, manipulation, prejudice and injustice, in the context of the racial persecution by the State of Chile and the usurpation of ancestral territory that its people have suffered for centuries.

No, the Mapuche are not guaranteed a fair trial in Chile, not only because of the widespread systemic and historical corruption in the Araucanía region, but also because of the specific effects from the application of the Chilean “Anti-Terrorism” Law, such as the use of witnesses with protected identity; prolonged secrecy of the investigation and inappropriate use of prolonged detention without bail. Other areas of concern regarding the right to a fair trial that are not directly related to the application of the “Anti-Terrorism” Law but are in a context of stigmatization against the Mapuche people include the harassment of witnesses and defenders and the use of evidence that has been reported as illegal, the allegations of which were not investigated.

A common thread running through all these violations of the right to a fair trial are the stereotypes evident in the decision of the prosecutors’ offices to classify the crime as “terrorist”, which not only violates the principle of the presumption of innocence, but is also the cause and result of structural discrimination against the Mapuche people.

THE STATE OF CHILE VIOLATES HUMAN RIGHTS

FREE THE MAPUCHE POLITICAL PRISONERS!

by Claudia Andrea Aranda

Santiago de Chile, August 16, 2020

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Public statement on the situation of the Mapuche people in Chile

International Human Rights Organization 18.10 expresses its concern about the political and social situation affecting the Mapuche people.
The serious and systematic violations of human rights, which involve violation of the right to demonstrate, arbitrary arrests, violation of the right not to be subjected to torture or physical violence of any kind, violation of the right to be tried by an impartial court, violence against Mapuche women and children, have been perpetrated since the time of the dictatorship.

The Mapuche community has been fighting for years for the respect of their right to remain on their ancestral lands, which have been unjustly usurped with the complicity of the Chilean State for the benefit of private individuals and multinationals.

The Chilean authorities, in particular the courts of justice, are completely unaware of ILO Convention 169, which was ratified in 2008 and came into force in 2009. Courts, judges, and the Public Ministry do not apply these regulations, and the same thing happens in the Executive and Legislative Branches, so it is the State that is not responding to the rights that should be guaranteed to indigenous peoples and, especially, to spiritual authorities.

As an organization that defends human rights, we believe that it is imminent that the international community will speak out against such injustices and challenge the government of Sebastián Piñera.

The Chilean State must respect the rights of the original peoples and the international covenants.

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Public Statement, Day #12

Temuco, Chile. May 15th, 2020

Mapuche Spiritual Leader, Machi Celestino Córdova, is on a hunger strike to demand the release of all Mapuche political prisoners. His health condition is worsening rapidly. His spokespersons have made the following statement on his behalf.

Public Statement:

To the international and national community, to the pu machi (Mapuche spiritual leaders), pu lonko (Mapuche Chiefs), to the communities in resistance, to the people who are not Mapuche who resist and struggle and to the entire Abya Yala, we communicate the following:

Even before this hunger strike, the Mapuche political prisoners in the Temuco prison had already denounced the fact that the government had only freed prisoners convicted of crimes against humanity (from the Pinochet regime), anti-Mapuche criminals like the ones who assassinated Camilo Catrillanca and the nefarious agents of the Huracan operation (a police operation that tried to frame Mapuche but which was eventually uncovered). The government used the excuse of the pandemic to release them.

Is the life of the Mapuche people not important?

This is very clearly a political decision to keep the Mapuche in jail even though they qualify for the necessary requirements to have access to the benefits of early release, in some of the cases to avoid the risk of contagion.

The Mapuche extends their demands for the government to release all of the prisoners living in a prison system that keeps people in overcrowded conditions throughout the entire country. The pandemic has become fixated on a global level.

From all the jails, voices are crying out for protection and help behind those walls.  This complex situation of the pandemic forces all to see the collapse of the prison system with the risk to the lives of all who are deprived of their freedom when a few days ago, a riot by prisoners of the Puente Alto jail in Santiago broke out. Yesterday, the prisoners in Colina 1 in the District of Colina also held a riot and after being brutally beaten were transferred to prisons far away from their families.

From the jails of Temuco and Angol, our dear Mapuche brothers who are political prisoners either awaiting trial or convicted are also on a hunger strike, asking that their right to life be protected under the conditions of the pandemic, and that the government respect and apply Articles 8,9 and 10 of the Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization (ILO).
The demands are concrete and JUST. It is Just to demand the rights as Indigenous First Nation people who are deprived of their freedom, according to the clearly specified provisions of Article 10 of the 169 Convention.  

A. Change the site where the sentence is completed and that this place be at home.
B. Change the way in which sentences of both Mapuche and non-Mapuche people are completed and that they be allowed to complete them in their communities or homes.
C. Change to the “preventive measures” (in jail awaiting trials) for all of the Mapuche political prisoners and all of the political prisoners from the social upheaval (of Oct 2018) who are being held awaiting trial.

The responsibility of both Gendarmeria (the military police in charge of managing the prisons and borders) and the government of Chile is very clear because they have known for many years that they should comply with the ILO Convention 169 statutes. Today, their responsibility is even more clear because they have failed to take measures to save the lives of all of the prisoners, nor are they capable of doing so. The government of Chile has the opportunity to show a political gesture in favor of the Mapuche people by respecting and complying with the 169 Convention, removing all of the obstacles by Gendarmeria, and free all those prisoners  who are still in jail, who are close to or have complied with all of the requirements that qualifies them to be released.

Today, the life of our Spiritual leader Machi Celestino Cordova is in their hands. This week his health has deteriorated significantly. His cardiac rate is 43 beats per minute, when the normal range is from 60-100; his weight is 85.7 kilos and has lost 9 kilos so far. He had a fever yesterday which today is under control. All of this points to the need for him to be released to his home, to be with his family, his community and his territory.

In addition to all of this, the health emergency of the pandemic has become more and more complex throughout the entire country. These are all sufficient reasons to demand that the government comply with our request.

We call on all of the territories of the Abya Yala, all of the communities in resistance, all of the organizations that struggle for the oppressed peoples, all of our pu lamngen of the lelfun to strongly demand:

Freedom for all the Mapuche Political Prisoners!

Freedom for all of the political prisoners of the social upheaval!

Freedom for all political prisoners!

No more repression and displacement of the territories in resistance!

Forestry companies, Mining companies and Hydroelectric companies must Leave the Mapuche territory!

Families, friends and Support Network of Machi Celestino Córdova

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The New Legal Report of our Human Rights Organisation

We have released the full 2nd report of our legal group.

Second Legal Report – DD. HH. 18.10

Released on January 2020

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Front Line Speech at FOLADH

“Our people bleed…”

Front Line (Primera Linea) Speech at FOLADH (Foro Latinoamericano de Derechos Humanos)
Santiago de Chile, January 24th, 2020

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European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights reviews situation in Chile

On Wednesday 22 January in Brussels, MEPs spent a few minutes learning about the situation in Chile following the social upheaval of 18 October 2019.

A speech made via teleconference with Claudio Nash, Doctor of Law, Coordinator of the Human Rights Chair at the University of Chile and journalist Patricia Parga-Vega, member of the International Human Rights Committee 18.10.

A first step for human rights defenders’ organisations in Chile to be heard.

Watch the session live.