Latin American Report


Elderly Indigenous Women Tried by Military Courts (8/4/1999)

Government Accused of Undermining Indigenous Rights (14/3/1999)


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22 May1999

Chilean Indigenous Leaders Arrested in Land Struggle

Chilean police have arrested some 300 indigenous Mapuche activists over the last few months in connection with an ongoing dispute with the Chilean government and private businesses over ownership and use of land in southern Chile [see Update #476]. At least 14 of those arrested were leaders, including attorney Jose Lincoqueo Huenuman, who heads the Interregional Mapuche Council's Justice Department; he was arrested after bringing to light 28 treaties and agreements between the Spanish crown and Mapuche leaders that date from the colonial period. As of May 7 Lincoqueo was still detained, along with 12 other Mapuche leaders: Pascual Pichun, Aniceto Norin, Jose Melinao, German Tranamil, Pedro Coilla, Juan Nahuen, Juan Lincopi, Juan Huenchul, Carlos Ramirez, Juan Pichun, Alfonso Raiman, and one unidentified leader.

On May 9, Pedro Calluqueo (or Cayuqueo) was arrested at the Santiago airport as he returned from a United Nations (UN) human rights conference where he represented the Arauco-Malleco Coordinating Group of Mapuche Communities in Conflict. Meanwhile, Chilean planning minister German Quintana says he is devising an action plan to resolve the Mapuche land conflict in a matter of months. [Lulul Mawidha 5/9/99; Press Communique from Mapuche International Link (Bristol, UK) 5/7/99; La Tercera (Santiago) 5/8/99]

Letters protesting the arrest of Mapuche activists and leaders and urging a fair and peaceful resolution to the land conflict can be faxed to President Eduardo Frei (fax +56-2-6904020); Martin Zilic, governor of Concepcion department (fax +56-41-230247); and Justice Minister Soledad Alvear (fax +56-2-6964558). [Mapulink Press Communique 5/7/99]