17 Oct 2005

South Pacific islands of Juan Fernandez reported to be raising issue of autonomy

6:28 am on 17 October 2005

Reports from Chile say the people of the South Pacific islands of Juan Fernandez have been raising the issue of special autonomy for the territory.

The newspaper, La Nacion, reports locals raised the questions during a recent radio phone-in programme on Juan Fernandez island.

Several callers suggested the archipelago needed different laws from those of mainland Chile, 7-hundred kilometres to the east.

The concerns echo recent demands in Easter Island for greater local powers in the regulation of immigration and tourist numbers and in the preservation of natural resources.

The Juan Fernandez territory includes an island named after a former inhabitant, the 18th century Scottish navigator Alexander Selkirk, who was the model for the fictional hero Robinson Crusoe.