Kom pu Mapuche Ñi Az Zungu
Comisión Mapuche de Derechos Humanos
Mapuche Human Rights Commission – MHRC
Commission Mapuche des droits de l’homme

Political Persecution of the Mapuche People is condemned by International Organisations 

MHRC Statement – Geneva – March 6, 2018

The Mapuche chief, Lonko Juana Calfunao, visited the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to take part in the deliberations of the 167th period of sessions which took place from 26 February to 2 March, 2018 in the city of Bogotá (Columbia). As usual, Lonko Juana suffered harassment and intimidation on leaving and entering Chile, even though she has all her documents in order, as the Chilean state has placed her permanently under a restriction order.

The reason for her visit was to meet with various commissioners of the IACHR to draw attention to the current situation of her community and family but also to inform them of the latest events related to the oppression of the Mapuche people, an indigenous people living in the south of the territory that is nowadays occupied by the states of Chile and Argentina. The Mapuche chief asked the rapporteurs to visit her community and other communities affected by the Chilean police repression.

In Bogotá, the Mapuche chief met with members of the IACHR including the President and Commissioner Mrs. Margarette May Macauley, the Vice President Mrs. Esmeralda Arosemena de Troetiño and the second Vice President Mr. Luis Ernesto Vargas Silva, as well as other commissioners specializing in the rights of children, women, indigenous people and precautionary measures. Besides requesting new precautionary measures, Lonko Juana made an intervention before the commissioners, in which she referred to the cases ‘Luchsinger-Mackay’, ‘Caso Iglesia’ and ‘Operación Huracán’ and the many raids on her community, Juan Paillalef.


Image: Lonko Juana Calfunao Paillalef and
Margarette May Macauley, Commissioner of the IACHR

In addition, Lonko Juana informed the IACHR about the excessive sums of money that Mapuche like herself and members of her family have to pay to be allowed to leave the country in search of justice and medical help. This measure does not apply to Chileans who wish to leave the country, so it is clear that with this action the Chilean government is trying to keep the repression against the Mapuche people within the country.

The judicial system, both Chilean and Argentine, does not give procedural guarantees to the accused Mapuche. Neither the presumption of innocence nor due process are being respected. In addition to all this, the ‘Intelligence Law’ No. 19,974 of the year 2004, created by the Ministry of the Interior, is in force in Chile. This law empowers its enforcing officers to collect data and use intrusive measures allowing them, for example, to seize cell phones of detainees and then implant incriminating data on said phones.

It is precisely this Intelligence Law that is now being used by certain policemen/women of the PDI*, DIPLOCAR* and racist, anti-Mapuche prosecutors of the Public Ministry of Araucania. These people have in fact formed a truly ‘illicit association’ for the purpose of legalising and justifying the indiscriminate political persecution of the chiefs and other leaders of the Mapuche. This persecution is used against those who fight for the restitution of their territorial rights, the autonomy and self-determination of the Mapuche people as established in our treaties with Chile and Argentina and within the norms of international law.

The irregularities in the judicial processes against Mapuche leaders, the constructs prepared by DIPLOCAR police, the intelligence services, the large landowners and certain prosecutors have combined to form what is really a de facto association through which they can collectively plot the ‘organized crime’ against the Mapuche people who are fighting for their rights. The constructs in the cases of ‘Luchsinger-Mackay’, ‘Caso Iglesia’ and especially ‘Operación Huracán’ came to light after it was confirmed during the allegations in the Court of Appeal in Temuco on February 27, 2018 that the accused were imprisoned as soon as incriminating messages had been planted onto their mobile phones.

Abuses of police power and torture carried out with impunity have been shown in numerous cases where Mapuche have been injured and even killed, as in the recent case of 22-year-old Rafael Nahuel in Puelmapu (Argentina) or the Machi (spiritual leader) Celestino Córdoba in Gulumapu (Chile), sentenced to 18 years in prison on the basis of a testimony by a Deputy Commisioner of the PDI who has recently been implicated in ‘Operación Huracán’. These are just two examples of the many which show that the rule of law does not work as it should with respect to the Mapuche. The Machi Córdoba has been on hunger strike since January 2018 protesting his innocence. The Machi also asks for his freedom of creed to be respected which he is presently prevented from exercising in the prison of Temuco.

Various testimonies by those affected by the repression of the Chilean government affirm that the intelligence services are involved in all the alleged terrorist acts attributed to Mapuche leaders. The Werken (special envoy) Ariel Trangol is in hospital with a life-threatening condition after maintaining a prolonged hunger strike in protest against his arrest. In addition to Ariel, his brothers Pablo and Benito Trangol and Lonko Alfredo Tralcal have been in preventive detention since June 7, 2016, accused of burning a church in the Community of Padre Las Casas, Araucanía. They were arrested solely because of their status as Mapuche and the police who arrested them did not provide any detailed evidence to justify their arrest. In spite of this, the prosecutor’s office of Temuco ordered their preventative detention.

On March 2, Chief Juana met at the IACHR with Mr. Diego Morales, Director of the Department for Litigation and Legal Defence of CELS (Centre for Legal and Social Studies), which deals with the case of the currently suppressed Argentine journalists and the case of Santiago Maldonado, who was killed whilst in the hands of the Argentine gendarmerie during a demonstration at the Pu-Lof in Resistencia of Cushamen, Chubut, Puelmapu (Argentina) in August 2017.

Within the framework of the 167th period of sessions of the IACHR Chief Juana Calfunao also met with the delegation of the Argentine government which contained – amongst others – Minister Dávila Quinteros and Javier Salgado of the Argentine Foreign Ministry. From these she demanded the release of Lonko Facundo Jones Huala. The Mapuche authority informed them of the lack of credibility of the Chilean rule of law and warned them that if the Argentine government insists on its repressive policy against the Mapuche communities, it will suffer the same fate as the Chilean state, which is subject to mockery, ridicule and disgrace at both national as well as international level.

For its part, the Mapuche Human Rights Commission will make several interventions in the Human Rights Council through the NGO Auspice Stella which has special status before the UN, to condemn the same facts that Lonko Juana has condemned in the IACHR as well as the extradition of Lonko Jones Huala to Chile.

* Police of Investigations of Chile (PDI)

* Directorated of Inteligencia Policial de Carabineros (DIPOLCAR)


Translated from Spanish by Barbara Chambers

Comisión Mapuche de Derechos Humanos
MHRC Oficina Central – Ginebra, Suiza
56, Rue de Monchoisy, 1207,
Genève, Switzerland.
Tel: +41-(0)22-320 4974

MHRC – Bristol, UK
6 Lodge Street, BRISTOL BS1 5LR, Inglaterra.
Tel: +44 (0)117 927 9391
Móvil: 44 (0) 7813979712
e-mail: mapuche.hrc@gmail.com

MHRC – Vaxjo, Suecia
c/o Domingo Paine
Bondevagen 3,
35253 Vaxjo, Suecia.
Tel: 46 (0) 736512554
e-mail: mapucheinfo@gmail.com

Comunidad Juan Paillalef, Sector Curaco, Comuna de Cunco,
IX Región de la Araucanía,
Gulumapu – Wallmapu.
Tel.: 00 41 (0) 76 375 38 98
E-mail: lonko.calfunao.mhrc@gmail.com

Comunidad Cacique Pincen, Lugar Trenque Lauquen,
Provincia Buenos Aires,
Puelmapu – Wallmapu.
Tel. (Celular):  + 54 (0) 11-5155 3309
E-mail: logkokaxinaopisen@hotmail.com