Press Release No Embargo: July 20, 2020.
Machi Celestino Cordoba in critical condition amid hunger strike as Mapuche Political Prisoners defend their innocence.
Celestino Cordoba a Mapuche Machi (spiritual healer) who has been imprisoned by the Chilean state under false terrorism charges is in a critical condition after being on hunger strike for 80 days.
Mapuche Political Prisoners at Temuco Prison have also joined the hunger strike. To date no evidence linking Cordoba to terrorism has been found yet he’s being kept imprisoned unable to practice vital ancestral rites.
25 Mapuche political prisoners in total are on hunger strike to proclaim their innocence and denounce the criminalisation of their bid to return to their ancestral land, these include those being held at Temuco, Lebu and Angol Prisons in Southern Chile. The Covid 19 outbreak is putting the prisoners and their communities at risk of contracting the virus as they are kept in unsanitary, dangerous conditions and denied access to their traditional herbs and medicines.
Dame Nina Saleh Ahmed Executive Director Auspice Stella Observatory on Human Rights and International law. said “The retention of at risk Mapuche political prisoners and hunger strikers exposed to Covid 19 exceptionally endangers life and can be said to be used as a further method of violent, inhumane treatment and punishment of Mapuche leaders. This act represents a flagrant disregard for the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and other relevant human rights instruments.”
Machi Celestino is now in a critical condition after being on hunger strike for nearly 80 days. In an address to his people he said “If I die, I ask my Mapuche nation, not to let down their guard and keep struggling until the Chilean state returns our ancient Mapuche territory and natural resources. We are being deprived of liberty by the Chilean State, causing great damage in the spiritual, personal and socio-economic sphere. ”
To date the Chilean state has refused to dialogue with the Mapuche community or cede to demands that are protected by international law. Instead they have sent more armed forces into the region and reports of human rights abuses are increasing.
NOTES TO EDITORS
For more information please contact:
Carole Concha Bell: 07794540433 or
Reynaldo Mariqueo: 44 (0) 7813 9797 12
- Machi Celestino Cordoba is seriously ill after 80 days on hunger strike.