Chilean authorities use the Anti-terrorism law to criminalise Mapuches' leaders.


On 9th August 2018, Amnesty International published the report: Pre-juicios injustos: Criminalización del pueblo Mapuche a través de la Ley Antiterrorista (Criminalisation of the Mapuche people through the Anti-terrorism Law). After monitoring the trial in two cases where the Anti-terrorism Law was used against Mapuche leaders for actions reportedly linked to their fight for their ancestral lands, the human rights organisation identified procedural disadvantages in the Chilean Anti-terrorism Law, which has led to the criminalisation of and unfair trials against Mapuche leaders. For years, Amnesty International has warned that the Anti-terrorism Law contains provisions that violate the principle of fair trial and that "the government continued to misuse the Anti-terrorism Law to prosecute Mapuche people in violation of due process guarantees".

On 7th August 2018, the Appeal Court in Temuco confirmed the conviction of the brothers and Mapuche leaders Pablo and Benito Trangol to 10 years in prison, in relation to the burning of a church in 2016. Amnesty International regrets this decision and stated that:

"[T]he Court of Appeal had the possibility of remedying the injustice suffered by these two Mapuche community members; however, it decided to maintain a conviction determined after an unfair trial that did not respect the minimum guarantees of due process."

Peaceful Assembly

On 5th October 2018, thousands of Chileans gathered in Santiago to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the victory of the ‘No’ vote in the 1988 referendum that put an end to the military dictatorship led by Pinochet. 

In a separate incident, in late August 2018, residents of Quintero in Valparaíso province camped in the town square to protest against the severe environmental crisis in the area due to the toxic emissions emanating from industries, which have led to the intoxication of more than 300 people and the closure of public schools. Residents are demanding the government to immediately end the operations of the most severe polluting companies (Gasmar, Oxiquim and ENAP). 

In October 2018, the National Institute of Human Rights stated that the environmental disaster in Quintero is not new and has been ongoing since the 90, severely damaging the quality of life of residents of the area. The Institute further announced that it would carry out a new observation mission to the territory, to evaluate the situation and to make recommendations to the State and companies in the area.