Press Release

IACHR Grants Precautionary Measures in Favor of the Lof Buenuleo Mapuche Community in Argentina, Which It Deems to Be at Serious, Urgent Risk

May 14, 2020

   Related links

   Contact info

IACHR Press Office

   More on the IACHR
A+ A-

Washington, D.C. - On May 14, 2020, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued Resolution 23/2020 (link in Spanish), through which it granted precautionary measures in favor of the Lof Buenuleo Mapuche community in Argentina, whom it deems to be at serious, urgent risk as a result of a territorial dispute that gave rise to an eviction process against the community, following which the proposed beneficiaries received threats and were targeted by acts of violence.

In reaching its decision, the IACHR took into account the aforementioned territorial dispute, which may have exacerbated the climate of violence, and also noted the repeated threats, harassment, and acts of violence targeting members of the Lof Buenuleo Mapuche community, which allegedly involved the use of firearms on more than one occasion as well as rubber bullets, stone-throwing, and beatings. The intensity of the risk community members are facing is also revealed by a series of actions that point to a desire to attack the beneficiaries’ rights, such as vehicle sabotage, what appeared to have been ambushes on the only road into the community’s lands, despite children being present, and the tone of the threats that were made.

The IACHR noted the state’s response and acknowledged that, according to reports, an attempt had been made to “[…] prevent any acts of violence that might arise” by placing a permanent guard in the vicinity of the disputed territory. However, this measure apparently did not prevent threats of violence against the beneficiaries from continuing, increasing, and ultimately becoming a reality. The IACHR also noted that according to the petitioners, after lockdown measures were decreed to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, the guard in question was allegedly removed from his post, but the community was not informed whether alternative protection measures had been adopted—indeed, attacks against them have allegedly increased.

After analyzing the information available to it, the IACHR requested, in accordance with Article 25 of its Rules of Procedure, that the state of Argentina take the necessary culturally appropriate measures to protect the life and personal integrity of the members of the Lof Buenuleo Mapuche community. In this regard, the IACHR noted that according to international human rights law, authorities must protect people from actions on the part of third parties or individuals, that they agree on any measures to be adopted in consultation with the beneficiaries and their representatives, and that they report on the actions they implement to investigate the events that led to the adoption of this precautionary measure, to prevent them from being repeated.

The fact that this precautionary measure has been granted and its adoption by the state does not entail a prejudgment on any petition that may eventually be filed before the inter-American system to allege that the rights protected by the American Convention and other applicable instruments have been violated.

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 and to defend 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. 111/20