13 Jan 2011

UN concerned about Chile's action against Rapa Nui

9:27 am on 13 January 2011

The United Nations has expressed concern about the force used by Chile against Rapa Nui protestors on Easter Island.

The UN Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, James Anaya, says he is gravely concerned about the actions of the Chilean security forces last month.

Mr Anaya says at the end of December, about 100 heavily armed police beat a dozen people, including several women and children, while removing them from the Riro Kainga square in the center of Hanga Roa.

About 70 people peacefully occupied the square as part of their campaign to regain their ancestral territorial rights.

Mr Anaya has also urged the government of Chile to make every effort to conduct a dialogue in good faith with the representatives of the Rapa Nui people about their claims.

In response to the occupations begun last August, the Chilean government sent in extra police to remove the Rapa Nui, saying it has to maintain public order.