Statement of UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

2011/01/12
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A positive development:
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MEDIA STATEMENT
January 12, 2011
Chile / Easter Island:
Statement of UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,  James Anaya, before the eviction of indigenous Rapanui.

GENEVA

I would like to inform all concerned that I have maintained communication with the Government of Chile, holding an exchange of information on the status of the Rapa Nui people of Easter Island. I expressed my concern about eviction measures undertaken by members of the security forces in response to acts of claims that have been various clans Rapanui in the last five months on Easter Island (Rapa Nui) as a result of the historical claims by the Rapanui people on the island.

In this regard, the Government has informed me that it has promoted various measures to address the claims of the Rapa Nui people, including conducting roundtables.

Despite the report from the Government, it is clear that the situation remains worrisome, as stated by the recent events in Easter Island, in particular the events of December 29, 2010.

According to information I received, about 70 people peacefully occupied Rapanui Riro Kainga Square in the center of Hanga Roa, as an act of protest in claiming their ancestral territorial rights. They were evicted by a hundred heavily armed police, who beat about twenty people, including several women and children. This occurred after the failure to achieve an agreement between the Government and Parliament Rapanui to voluntarily terminate the occupation of the square Riro Kainga.

Furthermore, according to information received, forced evictions may continue to occur, as might be the case for members of Hito Rangi clan who have been summoned by prosecutors for the upcoming January 13th, 2011 at a public hearing formalizing the alleged crime of usurpation.

I expressed my concern to the Government for these events and violent clashes, with the threat of possible future evictions.

All these facts have come to destabilize relations between the state and clan in Rapanui, and does not create a climate conducive to conducting a process for dialogue.

In this sense, in a letter sent to the Government on January 10, 2011, I have recommended to prevent further evictions and police presence on the island, that does not exceed what is necessary and proportionate to ensure the safety of its inhabitants.

In this regard I note with interest the decision of the Court of Appeals of Valparaiso, 11 November 2010, role 343, which in turn dismissed an application for eviction of the clan Hito, noting that ‘the islanders are considered legitimate owners of the Island ‘and’ can not be ignored that the size of the issues discussed, they acquire a political character.

I have also urged the Government to make every effort to conduct a dialogue in good faith with representatives of the Rapa Nui people to solve, as soon as possible the real underlying problems that explain the current situation.

I believe that it is particularly acute in relation to the recognition and effective guarantee of the right of Rapanui clans on their ancestral lands, based on his own customary tenure, in accordance with ILO Convention 169, of which Chile is a party, and other relevant international standards.

Finally, I made an urgent appeal to Government to take the necessary measures to avoid threats or harm to the physical safety of members of the Rapanui people and punish those responsible for any excessive or disproportionate use of force during the police operations of eviction.

As the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, I will continue to monitor closely the situation of the rights of the Rapanui people, maintaining dialogue with the Government and all stakeholders to contribute to finding solutions according to human rights standards. ”

FIN

On March 26, 2008, the Human Rights Council UN James Anaya appointed Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples for an initial period of three years. Mr. Anaya is Professor, Chair James J. Lenoir Policy and Humanitarian Law at the University of Arizona (USA).

Visit the Special Rapporteur’s website: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/indigenous/rapporteur/ OHCHR country page – Chile: http://www.ohchr.org/SP/Countries/LACRegion/Pages/CLIndex.aspx See United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N06/512/10/PDF/N0651210.pdf?OpenElement

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