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End Justified Violence Against Indigenous Mapuche Families and Children

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The former Chilean President, Michelle Bachelet was inaugurated as General Director of UN Women in Sept 2010 by UN General Secretary, Ban Ki Moon. This position carries with it a weight of responsibility and moral conscience, further prerequisites are a refined sensitivity to the issues which face repressed women regardless of their ethnic origin, culture, religion or sexual orientation, such as violence, torture, domestic and political abuse, humiliation and subjugation. The abuse of women is frequently attributed to a psychopathological inclination to abuse power, whether this occurs in the home as a method of gender control, within society, to isolate power to a male elite or at the hands of government, misusing power in order to fulfil their political agendas. Naturally therefore the role requires a high level of sincerity, integrity and honesty. We believe that as a result of Mrs Bachelet’s history of disregard for human rights implicit in her direct sanction of the application of Anti Terrorist law against indigenous Mapuche, in particular the consequences of this legislation upon indigenous females their families and children, that she is entirely unsuitable for this position. Therefore Mapuche International Link calls for the immediate resignation of Mrs Bachelet on the following grounds: • Mrs Bachelet in her capacity as head of the former Chilean government personally sanctioned the reintroduction of internationally condemned Anti Terrorist law (initially introduced by the former Pinochet dictatorship in order to quell democratic dissent) in order to criminalise indigenous Mapuche democratic expression thus terminating their human, civil, political and ancestral land rights. The application of this law has been repeatedly criticised by the UN Special Rapporteur for indigenous peoples. • The introduction and application of this law solely against Mapuche communities and their traditional leaders has led to the unjust detention of hundreds of Mapuche people and has signalled a carte blanche to police officers and judiciary to brutalise, harass and imprison with impunity Mapuche of all ages and from all walks of life due to their culture, identity and spiritual beliefs. • As a direct result of the application of this Law Mapuche communities and their leaders have suffered under military siege conditions, hundreds of Mapuche have been consistently falsely arrested and re-arrested as a means of harassment and intimidation. Examples include the Juan Paillalef community and the Temucuicui Community whose children have since taken to sleeping in the nearby mountains in order to feel safe from the threat of terrifying and violent police raids, where many had previously witnessed the ransacking of their homes and the brutal beatings of their parents and families at the hands of Chilean police, many of whom are seized from their homes and detained in prison under false charges of terrorism under this law. • Lonko Calfunao, traditional leader of the Juan Paillalef community in particular has endured persistent arbitrary arrests, and periods of unjust incarceration due to her role as traditional ancestral advocate for her community. Her home has been the focus of 3 uninvestigated arson attacks to date; her uncle was killed in one such attack whilst her youngest daughter narrowly escaped death in a further attack. • Lonko Calfunao served 4 years in prison (2006-2010) due to a minor misdemeanour (grabbing a court official during one of the multiple false trials where she received yet another arbitrary sentence) during the many times she had been held in custody she has endured countless beatings by her captors, her front teeth were smashed by a police radio on one occasion, on another she lost her unborn child due to multiple blows to her body. In a further assault in her home during a police raid she was handcuffed and her ankles tied after being stripped naked, whilst the police officers taunted her with racist and degrading remarks and urinated upon her face. • After the four year incarceration of Chief Calfunao, alongside that of her 80 year old mother, her two sons and her husband, her 8 year old daughter was dispatched to live in exile in Europe in order to preserve her safety and protection. The child now aged 13 years has since suffered a mental breakdown and has been diagnosed with post traumatic stress syndrome as a result of the atrocities committed by police against her family and community, witnessed as a small child. The Swiss government refuse to authorise her return to Chile until such time as the Chilean government can provide assurance that she will be safe from further harm should she return. • Former President Bachelet continues to deny that she issued personal orders to reinstitute and apply Anti Terrorist Law against innocent Mapuche civilians; In fact after two consecutive face to face confrontations with Chief Calfunao within the European Parliament and the United Nations Human Rights Council, she maintained this position; on one of these occasions she again proclaimed her innocence in English, a language which is neither spoken nor understood by the Chief. Based on this catalogue of violence against Chief Calfunao and countless men, women, children and elderly indigenous Mapuche like her, we feel that Michelle Bachelets’ new position as head of UN women is an entirely inappropriate selection and we call for the immediate resignation of Mrs Bachelet, in order to restore trust and integrity to this UN body. In order to nurture trust with vulnerable women, women must feel able to trust those who are elected to advocate for their rights, In particular the power of elected authorities must reflect this fundamental principle that indeed lies at the heart of all cases of gender abuse. Indigenous women being the most economically disadvantaged sector of global society and thus the most vulnerable to exploitation and abuse would be unable to place their faith in a woman who has personally provided the permission and supplied the ammunition with which to perpetuate repression and violence upon their fellow women. Please demonstrate your support for this proposal and sign our online petition today, all signatures will be sent to the UN General Secretary.


Mapuche International Link is a Uk based NGO which campaigns for the human, civil, political and ancestral territorial rights of the Indigenous Mapuche people of Chile and Argentina. MIL campaigns at many international forums including the United nations Human Rights Council.

Learn more about Justice for Chief Calfunao-Stop Bachelet Now Campaign from our blogspot

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