Ministry of Security petitioned over repression of Mapuche community

In three separate operations, national and provincial security forces used unusual violence to repress members of the Lof Cushamen Mapuche community of Chubut, who have been subjected to criminalization and harassment.

This week different security forces used violence to repress members of the Lof Cushamen Mapuche community of Chubut. The three operations resulted in injuries to community members, putting their lives and safety at risk.

Today we petitioned the Argentine Ministry of Security to adopt urgent measures to protect, investigate and sanction those responsible for these events and the serious repression, criminalization and harassment of the Mapuche community. We furthermore requested that channels be opened to arrive at a political solution to the territorial conflict.

The recent acts of violence suffered by the community reflect a federal State that has not been willing to resolve the territorial conflict at its core and has instead fostered a repressive approach. The national government considers this conflicts like the one led by the Mapuche community to be a security threat and thus associates their actions with terrorism. In response to the order from federal judge Otranto to vacate the territory under dispute between the transnational company Benetton and the Mapuche Community of Resistencia, the violent intervention by the National Gendarmerie led the Chubut provincial forces to feel they had authorization to intervene with force.

The lawsuits filed to criminalize the Mapuche protests are the result of the three incidents of repression suffered by the community in recent days. There is a common thread linking the discriminatory notion that the indigenous are a terrorist threat, the disrespect for the rights of indigenous peoples, the illegal actions by security forces and the criminal persecution of community leaders.

The members of the Lof Cushamen community must be protected. The events of recent months bear witness to particular cruelty on the part of the security forces against those who promote and sustain their territorial and community claims.