Comisión Mapuche de Derechos Humanos
Mapuche Human Rights Commission – MHRC
Commission Mapuche des droits de l’homme
MHRC – Geneva, 20 September 2017
Meeting in Geneva on 18 and 19 September, the Mapuche Human Rights Commission (MHRC) wishes to express its deep concern about the terrible state of health of Mapuche political prisoners Ariel, Benito and Pablo Trangol, and Lonko Alfredo Tralcal. The four Mapuche men have been on hunger strike from 7 July to the present day. They have been in preventative detention from 9 June 2016, accused of participation in an arson attack on a church in the county of Padres Las Casas. Despite there being no human victims in the alleged attack and having no proof against the accused, the Chilean government has applied anti-terror legislation against them.
The police detained the group more than ten kilometres from the event, based solely on information given by an anonymous witness, which the accused state could have been a police officer motivated by racism. The detained ask that their fundamental rights be respected and that they be granted a fair trial. They also oppose the application of the widely condemned Anti-terrorist Law and the use of anonymous witnesses, and maintain that they ought to be set free under the conditions of Article 140. Their demands have been ignored by the Chilean authorities, which is the reason why they have been on hunger strike for more than 105 days. An official medical report by Doctor Nelson Reyes Sanzana documents the precarious state of health of the four men who have since deteriorated even further to the point where they are now in a critical condition.
Members of the Mapuche Permanent Mission to the UN and the Mapuche Human Rights Commission had a meeting today with Ambassador Marcelo Gima, Permanent Representative of Argentina, and his secretary Daniela Gutiérrez. The Mapuche delegation expressed their concern over the continuing raids against the ‘Pu Lof en Resistencia‘ Community and on other communities in Puelmapu. The meeting took place in a frank and constructive manner and the Ambassador expressed his understanding and readiness to transmit the points raised at the meeting to the Argentinian Foreign Ministry.
In Argentina the Mapuche of Puelmapu are subject to a campaign of demonization led by Security Minister Patricia Bullrich, among other public figures. The minister’s declarations of 9 August, 2017 on MDZ radio are completely in tune with the malicious rumours propagated by racist and neo-nazi groups that hide behind a false nationalism and that for years have been defaming the Mapuche cause. The minister would seem to be more interested in pandering to anti-Mapuche extremists than facilitating an atmosphere of coexistence and reconciliation between indigenous peoples and mainstream society.
In the same interview the minister states her desire that the Mapuche live in peace. She doesn’t consider the fact that peace is not made through arbitrary raids and arrests. Neither is peace helped by demonizing, discriminating and intimidating communities as happens today with many Mapuche communities in Patagonia. The Mapuche, and civil society, expect somebody holding such an important position – supposedly with an ethical commitment and an obligation to tell the truth – to demonstrate the political will and to make a sincere effort to solve this historical conflict and not add to general ill feeling and social marginalisation of minority groups. The minister refers to a law that she claims exists to grant disputed land back to the Mapuche, but is it really being applied? Are they really making land reparations to the Mapuche? The answer is a resounding NO. If the Mapuche conflict reignites year after year it is simply due to this lack of political will and commitment over land issues. The Mapuche are the legitimate owners and have occupied this land since time immemorial. Today, sadly, they are in the hands of multinationals like Benetton and Lewis, among others.
Before the forced disappearance of Santiago Maldonado there had already been an indeterminate number of Mapuche disappeared in Puelmapu, with the police being directly or indirectly responsible. In addition to disappearances involving the police, between 2003 and 2017 there have been cases of murders committed by unidentified individuals. All these relate to territorial disputes, confiscation of territories and the commercial exploits of mining and petroleum companies and major landowners. The arbitrary detentions, torturings and assassinations have been reported by witnesses. However, the majority of these cases remain unsolved and the victims continue to be denied justice.
Ivan Eladio Torres disappeared on 2 October, 2003 after being detained by patrol car 469 and taken to Section 1 Police Station in the city of Comodoro Rivadavia. His mother, Maria Leontina Millacura LLaipen, went to the station to report her son’s disappearance but the police on duty refused to receive her. Ivan was born on 24 November 1976.
Luciano Gonzalez disappeared on 12 March 2009 in Corcovado, Chubut, in the custody of a Special Operations Unit commanded by commissioner Miguel Gomez. The youth was detained along with Jaramillo who reported that both had been brutally beaten by the police. The remains of his body were found in August 2013. The case against the men accused of the crime was dismissed and remains unsolved.
Julian Antillanca was beaten to death by police belonging to the Section 4 Police Station in Trelew. Julian was 19 years old. Eyewitnesses reported that a police patrol car left the body lying on the ground in a street in Trelew. Four of the five police accused of his murder were found guilty of Julian’s murder by a court in Trelew.
Alfredo Cárdenas (husband of Corina Hermosilla) supposedly drowned after falling from a footbridge across the Rio Azul in October 1995. According to his brother ‘He didn’t fall. Who could fall from that bridge?’. Documents certifying his possession of 564 hectares of land had been stolen from him.
Raymundo Pino, a Mapuche-Tehuelche man from Gan-Gan, Chubut, disappeared on 9 July 2011. He was seen for the last time in the small hours of that day in the ‘El Portezuelo’ establishment. The mining company Navidad tries to exploit this territory despite the strong opposition of the local chief Hortensia Weicha (Reymond’s mother). There is speculation that Raymundo’s disappearance is a reprisal by the mining company in question. This case remains unsolved.
Genaro Calfullanca, 45, and his 20 year old son Cristian Calfullanca disappeared on 10 April 2013 in Cholila, Chubut. They were seen for the last time on their way to take up fencing jobs near the Rio Tigre at the Raul Zarza ranch. The Cholila Police went to search for them because they were due to stand as witnesses in a court case related to an illegal land sale but apparently never found them, although they failed to inform the family at the time. This case also remains unsolved.
Maria Millacura, the mother of Ivan Torres who was made to disappear by the police in Chubut 14 years ago, has joined ‘las madres de la Plaza de Mayo’ in looking for answers regarding her son, as well as the family and thousands of other Argentinians searching for Santiago Maldonado.
As an act of respect for human rights, life and individual human dignity, we call for a thorough investigation and subsequent punishment of those responsible for such serious crimes, in order to create confidence in the justice system and restore respect for the security services. Covering up these crime does not help create a climate of reconciliation, neither with the indigenous peoples nor with the many Argentinians who suffered the forced disappearance of their loved ones during the dishonourable dictatorships endured by our people. The search for the disappeared continues to this day and the state must respond to the families demanding answers and help them find closure.
Mapuche Human Rights Commission
MHRC Oficina Central – Geneva, Switzweland
56, Rue de Monchoisy,
Tel: +41-(0)22-320 4974
MHRC – Bristol, UK
6 Lodge Street,
BRISTOL BS1 5LR,
Tel: +44 (0)117 927 9391
Mobile: 44 (0) 7813979712
MHRC – Vaxjo, Suecia
c/o Domingo Paine
3 35253 Vaxjo
Tel: 46 (0) 736512554
Comunidad Juan Paillalef,
Comuna de Cunco,
IX Región de la Araucanía,
Gulumapu – Wallmapu.
Tel.: 00 41 (0) 76 375 38 98
Comunidad Cacique Pincen,
Lugar Trenque Lauquen,
Provincia Buenos Aires,
Puelmapu – Wallmapu.
Tel. (Celular): + 54 (0) 11-5155 3309
Translated from Spanish by James Edwards