The Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel accused the Government and Justice of Argentina on Tuesday of being “violating human rights” and the “right to the original peoples”, after the eviction of the Mapuche community “Lafken Winkul Mapu”, in the Patagonian province of Río Negro (south).
“250 police officers cannot go to evict 20 people. The Government and Justice are violating human rights and the right to peoples. They do not respect the national constitution and the United Nations universal declaration of the rights of indigenous peoples,” Esquivel said at a press conference.
This community, which is not registered by public bodies, has been illegally installed on land belonging to the National Parks Administration since 2017 in the town of Villa Mascardi and was evicted last Tuesday by federal forces.
The operation concluded with the arrest of 7 women with their children, including a pregnant woman; 4 received house arrest and another 3 were transferred to a federal prison, to later be returned to the Airport Security Police (PSA) in Bariloche.
“I have met with the judge who is handling this case to see the defense of the seven detained women and to this day this has not been resolved. They have been transferred to the Ezeiza prison, which should not be the treatment for women with children and pregnant women, “said the activist.
The situation with this community has escalated to a breaking point in recent months, after a group of people, identified as Mapuches, took over, destroyed and set fire to houses and offices of the Provincial State of Río Negro.
However, the attack and destruction of a mobile surveillance post of the National Gendarmerie (border police) that occurred on September 26 in that area led the Government to deploy forces to end the seizure of land and control the roads.
“Villa Mascardi’s problem is much deeper and has to do with the policies of all governments of not dealing with the land tenure of the original peoples. They are expelled from their territories to later sell them to large foreign companies,” Pérez Esquivel assured.
In the middle of the press conference, a letter written by Débora Vera, one of those detained during the eviction, was read, in which she demanded her “immediate release” and denounced situations of “abuse” and “mistreatment” towards her and her companions. .
Vera highlighted the value of the Mapuche peoples who “raised their voice against an enemy that is a unified command of which the perverse and repulsive repressive forces are part.”
In parallel, Argentine President Alberto Fernández traveled to the southern province of Neuquén, which borders Río Negro, to meet with representatives of Mapuche communities, an official statement reported.
The indigenous leaders raised the president’s “predisposition” to organize a space for dialogue and conflict resolution and the president reiterated his commitment to the communities to guarantee respect for the original cultures of Argentina.
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Nobel Peace Prize accuses the Argentine government of violating the rights of the Mapuche