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Latino Daily News

Wednesday January 5, 2011

Rapa Nui Indigenous People Violently Evicted from Easter Island Chile

Rapa Nui Indigenous People Violently Evicted from Easter Island Chile

Photo: Rapa Nui

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Witnesses report that more than 100 Special Force Police beat dozens of clan members while forcibly evicting them from the Government Plaza in the center of Hanga Roa in Chile.

Hito Clan spokesperson, Marisol Hito, said her people are shocked by the extreme violence with which they are being treated.

“Unfortunately, President Sebastián Piñera, the Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter, and Valparaiso Mayor Raúl Celis, have chosen the foolish path of violence against our people,” said Hito.

According to Rafael Tuki Tepano, a member of the Rapa Nui parliament, the eviction order came from Valparaiso Mayor Raúl Celis, under whose governmental jurisdiction Easter Island belongs despite the city being more than 2,000 miles away. Celis announced that 16 sites have now been evicted of Rapa Nui clans who claim ancestral ownership over the land.

“The Chilean policy on Rapa Nui issues needs to be reformed,” said Armstrong Wiggins, director of the Center’s Washington, D.C. office. “It is time for Chile to observe international human rights standards and to avoid solutions by force.”

Several national deputies and senators have expressed concern and are concerned about what is happening on Easter Island.

With this latest act of violence, pressure from human rights groups is rising. The National Institute of Human Rights and Citizens Watch have called upon the Chilean government to respect human rights and existing rights of indigenous peoples in Chile and to apply this policy to resolve territorial disputes that have historically faced Rapa Nui with the State.