UN calls for dialogue in Mapuche conflict and investigation of violence and racism

Santiago de Chile, Aug 4 (EFE) .- The regional office for South America of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights made this Tuesday a call for dialogue in the Mapuche conflict and to investigate the acts of violence that occurred since last week and acts of racism against the indigenous people of southern Chile.

The regional representative of the United Nations office, Jan Jarab, urged to follow the path of “participatory dialogue and in good faith” as “the only way to face the continuous social tensions in La Araucanía (south)”.

“To find lasting solutions, it is necessary to address the root causes of these tensions, including structural discrimination and pending issues in the area of ​​human rights for indigenous peoples,” said the representative of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

“A response purely focused on public security would feed what is already a chronic process of tension, mistrust and conflict, not without human rights violations,” he added, according to an official statement from the institution.

This reaction from the international body came days after an escalation of violence in the region of La Araucanía, some 600 kilometers south of Santiago, after violent incidents between Mapuche citizens, civilian mobs and Carabineros (Chilean Police).

Among them, from the UN they mentioned their concern about clashes between community members of the indigenous people and those in uniform, fires of different kinds, occupations of public areas and evictions by force.

“We urge a prompt, independent and exhaustive investigation of the events, especially the allegations of excessive use of police force and expressions of a discriminatory nature against the Mapuche people,” said Jarab.

The regional Prosecutor’s Office announced last Monday that it will open an investigation against the people who formed the mob who by their own justice came to evict Mapuches who had taken the mayors of six municipalities in the area.

In addition, they asked for a solution between the government and community members to end the hunger strikes that several Mapuche prisoners have been holding for more than 90 days in protest of the situation.

The main obstacle why the conflict is not resolved, according to the Mapuche communities, is the lack of application of Article 169, which Chile signed before the International Labor Organization, which recognizes indigenous peoples and their rights.

Among them, the recognition of what is considered their ancestral lands and the obligation for indigenous people to participate in the decisions that the Government makes in the area, something that they indicate has not happened so far.

A point also mentioned by the UN, which warned that compliance with this international law could help ease the tension.

The Mapuche conflict has caused the violent death of several community members -the last one, that of the young Camilo Catrillanca-, policemen and farmers, in addition to burning properties and machinery, with dozens of Mapuche convicted under the anti-terrorist law. EFE

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