Education International
Education International

Humanitarian solution needed for Mapuche prisoners in Chile

published 28 September 2010 updated 28 September 2010

EI is extremely concerned about the health and wellbeing of 34 Mapuche political prisoners who have been on hunger strike for 75 consecutive days, since 12 July, and who have been joined by two young people on hunger strike since 1 September.

EI expresses its solidarity with the demands of the Mapuche hunger strikers and their families. Their demand is to be judged as equals by the formation of real dialogue within the civil courts, and not arbitrarily by the military judicial system.

The Mapuche prisoners are accused of violating the Anti Terrorist Act and Internal Security Law which was inherited from the times of the Pinochet dictatorship. This pernicious Act allows the security forces to search the private residences of civilians on a whim and to arrest and interrogate any “suspicious” individual without any judicial intervention.

EI, and in particular it’s member organisations from Latin America and members of EI’s Ad Hoc Committee on Indigenous Issues and related matters, calls on Chile’s Government and President Sebastián Pinera to resolve the current dispute promptly and to deliver a humanitarian and definitive solution to this conflict.(See the EIAL website)

EI also reiterates the request made by the Association of Professors of Chile, on the importance of constructing truth dialogue tables without pre-conditions and without repressive measures, as well agreeing on humanitarian solutions to the Mapuche prisoners.

EI General Secretary, Fred van Leeuwen, said: "The demilitarisation of the territories and the civil life, including the life of more than 600,000 Mapuche people living in regions VIII, IX and X of southern Chile need a democratic response. The criminalisation of Indigenous peoples standing up to defend their rights, their lands and their cultures must end immediately.”