10 Dec 2010

Amnesty concerned about Chile's approach to Rapa Nui conflict

2:40 pm on 10 December 2010

Amnesty International says it's deeply concerned about the situation in Rapa Nui following last week's clashes between Chilean security forces and indigenous people over land rights.

Amnesty has called on the Chilean authorities to ensure the use of approriate force in all law operations.

It says they also must ensure that police don't target individuals or clans on the basis of their having sought legal advice or because they hold evidence regarding possible excesses committed during law enforcement operations.

Amnesty says last year a number of states, including New Zealand, recommended that Chile improve its record on recognising and implementing indigenous peoples' land rights during a review in the UN Human Rights Council.

Earlier this week, the president of Chile, Sebastian Pinera, justified the police action, saying it was to maintain public order.

Chilean authorities say they hope to end the remaining occupations by Rapa Nui within weeks.