April 28, 2000
Question of the violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms in any part of the world.
Chile, the government has broken the Agreement to Respect Citizens‚Äô
Rights signed on August 5, 1999. On August 22, Chilean police and
military forces violently occupied over an VIIIth Region community,
Pablo Quintriqueo Huenuman, detaining 34 Mapuche people in an official
meeting. On August 19 six people from Choin Lafquenche of Collipulli
were detained and beaten. Over 400 people in the region were forcibly
removed from their lands and imprisoned between January and August.
This figure compares with the worst years of repression under the
Pinochet regime. These military police actions often occur without
official authorization at the request of forestry companies.
The Ralco project, for example, which proposes flooding of 3,400
hectares of land bordering the upper BioBio river, is being developed
by national energy giant Endesa, majority-owned by electricity-sector
holding firm Enersis. Last year Endesa-Spain acquired a high number of
shares in Enersis, owner of Endesa-Chile. The Spanish company now has
decision power over the construction of the Ralco Dam. Endesa-Chile has
been authorized to continue construction of the Ralco Dam by the
government‚Äôs Electricity and Energy Authority.
The Puenche Indigenous Peoples have refused to accept relocation
packages offered by the energy firm. In order to stop construction of
the dam, Puenche elder Nicolasa Quintreman will begin legal actions
against Endesa Spain, filing a legal summons for the ethnocide against
the Puenche Peoples before the Spanish Court (Audience). Spanish penal
law prohibits carrying out acts that contribute to the destruction of
other peoples. Spanish penal law, in Article 607, prohibits forcible
removal and subjecting Indigenous Peoples to conditions that put their
lives or health in danger.
Forestry companies have used intimidation tactics against the
Mapuche Peoples to discourage their demands for the return of their
ancestral lands, including attempts to criminalize Mapuche leaders
through false allegations by paid witnesses.
Endesa-Chile has committed a series of anti-ethical and illegal
actions in order to facilitate the resettlement of the Puenche
communities. Several international commissions and tribunals have
condemned and posed serious questions to the way that Endesa Chile has
been conducting the construction of the Ralco Dam over the BioBio
including the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World
Bank, (Hair, July 1997), and the Human Rights Committee of the American
Anthropological Association (March 1998).
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