17 Aug 2010

Easter Island activists seek help from human rights court

3:15 pm on 17 August 2010

A Rapa Nui man says indigenous Easter Islanders have lodged an order for protection with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

Santi Hitorangi, who has represented the Rapa Nui people at indigenous forums, says his family is barricaded in the island's Hangaroa Hotel as armed Chilean forces wait outside.

He says about one thousand indigenous islanders have taken over local government buildings and the hotel on Rapa Nui, or Easter Island, amid a long-running land and immigration dispute

Mr Hitorangi says Chile is making it difficult for islanders during a sixty day negotiation period.

"They're intellectual restrictions. It's the communication, it's the business, it's the flights. The government controls all of that. And the sixty days will arrive and what they will do, they will probably just send in the guards and remove the people by force."

Rapa Nui man Santi Hitorangi.