Center for World Indigenous Studies
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A Signal Moment

Published: January 11, 2011, Author: JayTaber

As the Chilean government faces international criticism for the recent police and military attacks on the Rapanui parliament, it also faces a looming deadline set by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for its brutal abuses of Mapuche political activists. For the 19 million indigenous people of Chile, it is a signal moment, one where the new regime could steer a course consistent with international law, or one where their movement of resistance will be forced underground.

As the Organization of American States and Amnesty International monitor the conflicts on Easter Island and in the Southern Cone, Mapuche remain imprisoned for resisting police raids intended to harass their communities for pursuing self-determination under international law.

As the director of juridical anthropology and intercultural studies at the University of Chile law school observed, the criminalisation of communities that defend their rights is seen as a strategy by those in power. Their aim, says Milka Castro, is “to silence legitimate demands that are not compatible with the state’s export-oriented productive and extractive policies,” something that is occurring throughout the continent.

Chief George Manuel Memorial Indigenous Library

The library is dedicated to the memory of Secwepemc Chief George Manuel (1921-1989), to the nations of the Fourth World and to the elders and generations to come.

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