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Mapuche International Link denounces the killing of Rafael Nahuel at the hands of the Argentinian gendarmerie
Press release for immediate use: 26.11.17
Mapuche International Link are dismayed to learn of the death of twenty one year old Rafael Nahuel, and the shooting of at least three other members of the indigenous Lof Lafken Winkul Mapu community at the hands of Argentinian security forces on Saturday 25th November in Villa Mascardi, Rio Negro near Bariloche.
Rafael Nahuel died in a nearby hospital after sustaining fatal gunshot wounds from the Argentinian security forces. The police have claimed that they were attacked by stones thrown by indigenous activists who were evicted from their ancestral lands on Thursday. It has also been reported that several members of the community are unaccounted for since the incident.
Reynaldo Mariqueo from Mapuche International Link said, “The repression unleashed by the security forces on Saturday comes amidst a climate of stigma, racial hatred and discrimination targeted against indigenous Mapuche who are struggling to regain their ancestral lands. Mapuche communities are calling for their ancestral territorial rights, enshrined in international law and national law, to be respected.
“Sections of the Argentinian press and extreme right wing groups have fueled racist depictions of the Mapuche struggle, helping to make possible the repression we are witnessing at the moment. They make ungrounded claims that the Mapuche want to form a separatist state, that they are foreigners to Argentina, and that they are armed and receive foreign financial aid for the purposes of ‘terrorism’. These claims are wildly inaccurate, yet combined they create a context that made possible the killing of this young man on Saturday.”
During the security operation ordered by Judge Gustavo Villanueva, members of the community were indiscriminately detained, including women and infants. They were subjected to cruelty and violence in direct violation of national and international law. President Macri has been busy criticising human rights in Venezuela while he permits and endorses the repression against the most vulnerable and defenceless communities in Argentina.
Mapuche International Link will visit the Argentinian Embassy in London to present the ambassador with a letter asking for clarification on the matter, and to express their concern about the escalating violence towards Mapuche communities that has now resulted in a death. They will also seek to address the baseless accusations made by Security Minister Patricia Bullrich that Mapuche International Link is funding terrorism, and express their concern about the growing hostile climate that Mapuche people are being subjected to in everyday life, fueled by sections of the Argentinian media.
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