United Nations
Human Rights Council
36th Session

11-29 September 2017

Agenda Item 3. Promotion and Protection of All Human Rights, Civil, Political, Economic, Social and Cultural, including the Right to Development

Statement by Auspice Stella

Mr. President

Argentina has ratified all international instruments of human rights, including the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination. However, it is an undeniable fact that the Argentinian government deploys the stigmatization of Mapuche protests to protect and recoup their ancestral lands to score political points.

Discrimination and marginalisation mean that indigenous peoples have to resort to protest in order to make their voice heard by the political establishment. On August 1st of last month a demonstration took place in the Lof Resistencia de Cushamen community against the imprisonment of their leader, Lonko Facundo Jones Huala, and against the multinational Benetton for usurping part of their ancestral territory. During the protest, according to those present, Santiago Maldonado was arrested by the police and the young man has not been seen or heard of since.

Argentinian senators and members of parliament, including Nilda Garré and Ruperto Godoy, have criticized the negligence of the Security Minister Patricia Bullrich and all her speculations on the case which have been oriented towards covering and protecting the police. Furthermore her declarations denigrate the Mapuche people and revitalise the racism, discrimination and xenophobia that originate from the time of the initial foundation of the state of Argentina.

The forced disappearance of Maldonado, in true dictatorship-style, has caused consternation across Argentina. Security Minister Bullrich maintains a pact of silence between the government and the police. In light of this we condemn the interference of the government in the judicial investigation, something that undermines the independence and impartiality of the judges.

Thank you Mr President

Domingo Paine Huenupi
Mapuche Human Rights Commission

September 18th 2017

Translated from Spanish by James Edwards