Centre for investigation and defence south


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Centre for investigation and defence south

  1. 1. Centre for Investigation and Defence South (CIDSUR)History:The Mapuche are a group of indigenous inhabitants of south-central Chile and south-westernArgentina. They constitute a wide-ranging ethnicity composed of various groups who share acommon social, religious and economic structure, as well as a common linguistic heritage. TheMapuche make up 4.6% of the Chilean populationMapuche society in Araucanía and Patagonia remained independent from both Inca and Spanish ruleuntil the Chilean Occupation of Araucanía and the Argentine Conquest of the Desert in late 19thcentury. The Chilean State interned a significant percentage of the Mapuche, banned Mapudungun(the native language) and destroyed the Mapuche herding, agricultural and trading economies, whilealso looting Mapuche property. The government created a system of reserves called ‘reducciones’along similar lines to North American reservation systems. Subsequent generations of Mapuchehave lived in extreme poverty as a result of having been conquered and having lost their traditionallands.The Mapuche traditional economy is based on agriculture and their relationship to the land isparamount to their culture, society and beliefs. The name Mapuche means people of the land.The Chilean government has in some ways tried to redress some of the inequities of the past. In1993 Parliament passed, Law n° 19 253 (Indigenous Law) which officially recognised the Mapuchepeople, and seven other ethnic minorities, as well as the Mapudungun language and culture.Mapundungun, is now included in the curriculum of elementary schools around Temuco.Background of current situation:The recent conflict began to emerge in the 1990s after the return to democracy, when someindigenous communities (80% of which are Mapuche) began demanding that certain lands whichwere now property of logging and farming companies be returned to them. Several Mapucheorganisations are now also demanding the right of self-recognition as indigenous peoples, asrecognized under the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the General Assembly ofthe United Nations.The call for action for redistribution of land is also tide to current environmental campaigns toprevent the construction of further mines, dams and hydroelectric plants in the South of Chile. 2009saw land occupations, demonstrations, forest fires and threats from the indigenous communitiesand those supporting them towards the government and Chilean and foreign companies.The delicts committed by Mapuche and non-indigenous activists have been and are currently beingprosecuted under counter-terrorism legislation originally introduced by the military dictatorship ofAugusto Pinochet (1973-1990). The law allows prosecutors to withhold evidence from the defencefor up to six months and to conceal the identity of witnesses, who may give evidence in court
  2. 2. behind screens. In 2010 the Mapuche launched a number of hunger strikes in attempts to effectchange in the anti-terrorism legislation.Overview of organisation:The Centre for Investigation and Defence South (CIDSUR) is a not-for-profit, non-governmental,community organisation working in the South of Chile, to investigate and document violations ofHuman Rights. They provide legal assistance to predominately indigenous individuals (Mapuches)both adults and children that through their participation in civil protests to reclaim their native landsor against government action have either been arrested or interrogated by officials of the State.Officially founded in 2011 it has been operational in some form since 2010. The team is built up of agroup of human rights lawyers who came together under a common cause to support and defendthe indigenous community. Since then they have worked protecting the human rights of bothMapuche people and other inhabitants in the South of Chile who have been accused of crimesassociated with social protests. Different state institutions and departments often bring in the ‘lawsof exceptions’ (Law No.18.314 regarding terrorist acts and Law No.19.927 regarding inland securityof the state – counter-terrorism legislation mentioned above) to prosecute these individuals.In addition the group works to bring cases against military and police officials who through theirinterventions during protests stand accused of violations of human rights including torture andinhumane and degrading treatment of ingenious and non-indigenous individuals.Main objectives of CIDSUR:To provide free specialised legal support and representation to all who face prosecution by the stateof Chile or are vulnerable to human rights violations, focusing on Mapuche children and adults.To support, investigate and defend in court indigenous and non-indigenous citizens both adults andchildren who stand accused of crimes associated with civil protest to ensure that they have a fair andjust legal trial and that their human rights are protected.To monitor and protect through research and documentation of cases where there is a directviolation, by state agents and individuals, of human rights.Main beneficiaries:All people, both indigenous and non-indigenous, minors and adults, women and men living insouthern Chile, that are affected by unfair and discriminatory actions that violate their fundamentalhuman rights by agents of the state and its justice system.Need for CIDSUR:21-years after the return to democracy in Chile, there remain serious obstacles to the effectiveenjoyment of human rights by all citizens’, particularly indigenous peoples. These obstacles includethe often latent military repression committed by the army and police against civilians, the lack of anappropriate legal framework that protects the rights of indigenous peoples and the contradictions ofpublic policy in a context of economic liberalism, especially the policy of criminalising social protest.Unlike other countries in the region, Chile has an insufficient number of public bodies that take aninterest in or responsibility for the Mapuche and Chilean citizens criminally prosecuted for offenses
  3. 3. associated with social protest, leaving them vulnerable to unfair prosecution, ill-treatment and harshsentencing.Regarding the situation of indigenous peoples; multiple factors impede the effective exercise of theirrights. Firstly existing legal framework does not guarantee an adequate recognition of their rights,including political rights - autonomy, self determination, customary law, territorial, economic, socialand cultural rights enshrined in ILO Convention 169 in the United Nations Declaration on the Rightsof Indigenous Peoples (UN human rights Council), and developed in recent years by thejurisprudence of human rights system.Secondly, the exercising of these rights is affected by the inadequacies and contradictions of thepolicy pursued by the Chilean government toward the indigenous communities. Although the Statehas promoted policies for indigenous people and their communities, these policies are clearlyinsufficient in relation to the demands and needs of indigenous peoples, and contradictory to theefforts made by the State to incorporate their communities, often against their will, to a globalapproach and assimilation, which does not respect their legal right to decide the development overtheir lands and natural resources.The above has been documented by various international bodies and NGOs, who have concludedthat state action exerted by the State of Chile, violates the basic human rights of indigenous people,in particular the Mapuche.Despite the commitments made with indigenous peoples since the return to democracy by differentgovernments (Aylwin, Frei, Lagos, Bachelet and Piñera), Chile has still not given constitutionalrecognition to indigenous people and their rights. Ignorance of the collective rights of indigenouspeople and the absence of clear and coherent policies to ensure their rights lead the indigenouspeople in Chile to be the most marginalised and discriminated in the country, a fact which has beenclearly shown through official statistics and other studies.Main activities of CIDSUR: • Sponsorship of those accused of crimes related to social protest and represent them in national courts • Providing legal action (lawsuits, appeals for protection, resource protection, etc.) to ensure compliance with the fundamental rights of those sponsored. • Providing assistance in the field (out of court) to indigenous and non indigenous people accused of crimes associated with social protest. • Guidance in criminal law, criminal procedures and judicial resources to the families, communities and heads of organisations of the sponsored person • Investigate and document the cases we represent using anthropological, social, psychological, historical and sociological methods to build a body of evidence to be used in future cases.Issues faced:In addition to the clear barriers that lawyers face with regards to policy and legislation whenrepresenting the Mapuche people outlined above, there are also those of resources. The increased
  4. 4. tension in the area of indigenous rights and the increase in such cases, has led to numerous lawyers,human rights activists and other individuals converging in collective actions, creating specialisedautonomous teams whose aim it to support those being prosecuted by the Attorney General. Thishas brought new challenges to human rights defenders, who are at a huge disadvantage comparedto the financial and human resources deployed by the state.The team:The team of CIDSUR is an interdisciplinary group of professionals comprising of: President: Paul Ortega Manosalva, Human Rights lawyer with a degree from the University ofConcepcion, who has been dedicated to the sponsorship of emblematic cases for criminalprosecution of indigenous leaders from the state since 2000. He also defends civilians in militarycourts.Treasurer: Sebastian Saavedra Cea: Human rights lawyer, with a degree from the University of Chile,has been working since 2007 to seek justice for victims of human rights violations of the Chileanmilitary dictatorship and has been counsel in criminal cases associated with the application ofterrorist laws against indigenous leaders. He has also sponsored lawsuits against state officials forillegal treatment towards adults and children Mapuche.Director: Karina Riquelme Viveros: Attorney Advocate and Human Rights graduated from theCatholic University of Temuco (UCT) and holds a Diploma in Human Rights and Indigenous PeoplesUCT. Her experience lies in defending the rights of children and adolescents. Since 2010 she hasbeen engaged in criminal defence cases associated with the application of the Terrorism Act againstindigenous leaders. She has also sponsored causes involving the defence of Mapuche children andadolescents who have had their rights violated by state agents.Secretary: Eduardo Mella Seguel: Social Worker from the ‘Universidad de la Frontera’, Diploma inPsychosocial Performances in Political Violence and Disasters (Universidad Complutense de Madrid).Since 2000 he has participated in various research initiatives and supported various Mapuchecommunity organisations. He has participated in several researches including, "The rights ofindigenous peoples in Chile" (LOM / IEI 2003), "Undue Process" (HRW / Observatory 2004), "HumanRights and Indigenous Peoples" (Observatory / IGWIA 2005 ), "The Lagos government, indigenouspeoples and the New Deal" (LOM / Observatory 2007). In 2006 he co-authored the article "LettersPehuenches" which appeared in Annals of Declassification, Volume II, Laboratory of ComparativeDeclassification. In 2007 he published the book "The Mapuche before the law, the criminalisation ofindigenous social protest in Chile" and in 2010 he co-authored the book "Reasons for Illkun / Anger,memory, dispossession and criminalisation of the Mapuche territory of Malleco".