Press Release

IACHR Condemns Injuries to Mapuche Children in Police Operation in Chile

August 2, 2012

Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the injuries suffered by children of the Mapuche indigenous people in Chile, during the eviction operation conducted by Carabineros' police officers. The IACHR urges the State to investigate the facts and sanction those responsible, and to adopt measures in order to avoid in the future the excesive use of force in these operations. In addition, the Commission urges the State of Chile to adopt special measures of protection of children in this type of police action.  

According to the information received, on July 23, 2012, members of the Mapuche community Ignacio Queipul de Temucuicui were allegedly violently evicted, resulting in injuries to the child "A.M." who received a bullet in the leg. During the operation, 12 persons were allegedly detained, including three girls younger than 12 years old. The information available indicates that the three girls were coducted to the locality of Collipulli in a police bus, where they allegedly suffered humiliation, were beaten and sexually abused by the Carabineros officers. Later, alleged members of Carabineros allegedly shot against a group of persons who were waiting for those who had gone to certify the injuries. This allegedly resulted in injuries to the 12-year-old child "F.M." with bullets in his spine, and the 16-year old child "F.L." who received bullets in a leg. The Commission had received previous information about other police operations that allegedly resulted in injuries to children.  

The IACHR reminds the State of its obligation to conduct a judicial inquiry into these acts of violence, to sanction those responsible and to repair the consequences. In addition, the IACHR reiterates that it is necessary to adopt mechanisms to avoid the excessive use of force by State agents and to ensure that this type of operations are conducted respecting human rights and in strict compliance with the principles of legality, necessity and proportionality. The IACHR calls on the State so that, in the design and implementation of police operations, special consideration is given to the possible presence of children in demonstrations and other forms of protest in the context of the demands of the rights to lands of the Mapuche indigenous peoples, and, in consequence, that the State makes all necessary efforts to ensure their special protection against all acts of violence.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 97/12