Washington D.C., October 22, 2015.- This morning, Mijael Carbone Queipul, representative of the Mapuche people of the community of Temucuicui, gave his testimony before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on the attacks carried out by Chilean security forces.
The Territorial Mapuche Alliance (ATM), the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) and the Foundation for the support of children and their rights (ANIDE), presented to the Commissioners and representatives of Chile visual evidence of violent acts against Mapuche children and adolescents, corresponding to police actions in recent years in the country.
The Mapuche population has been characterized by its organized nature, by social mobilization and reclaiming their ancestral rights. In response, the State has criminalized collective action by Mapuche leaders, and implemented the current militarization of the territory. As part of this militarization, police officers have raided communities, using unjust and disproportionate force, which results in violations of the right to life, personal integrity and safety of children and adolescents.
"We live in the poorest municipality in the country. The State does not invest money in us but increasingly sends more police operations, more armored cars, more cutting-edge technology, to protect private property belonging to companies," explained Mijael Carbone. "We are empowering our children so that they change the story and sustain our community. That they might change the history of stones against bullets, of strongly armed police against unprotected people".
Moreover, Manuela Royo, an attorney with ATM, denounced the impunity with which the State treats the police officers who commit these acts of violence against Mapuche children, despite the fact that the Chilean judicial authorities have declared the illegality of such acts.
"The local chief of police was up for a promotion", explained Manuela. "Not only are there no sanctions or legal will, but additionally, those who carry out these actions are rewarded and given political favors".
Between 2011 and 2015 alone, 73 children have been affected by police violence. The National Institute of Human Rights in Chile has expressed its concern to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, which has recently asked the Chilean State to end the situation of violence.
The Inter-American Commission, upon receiving the information from the petitioners, asked the State during the hearing to present accurate information on the open investigations to punish the officials responsible for committing these acts.
"We hope that Chile lives up to its international responsibilities and sends a clear political message of zero tolerance for this type of aggression on the part of the security forces toward Mapuche children, and adolescents, the witnesses and victims of this injustice that is still unpunished", remarked Juliana Bravo, a lawyer from CEJIL.